UK food group Geest has paid £1.6m (US$2.3m) to acquire French prepared leaf salads company La Société Bretonne do Légumes (SBLP) from an agricultural cooperative.

Based in Brittany, Northern France, SBLP reported turnover worth £4.1m for the year ended August 2001. The deal gives Geest a third French production facility.

Geest's executive chairman Ian Menzies-Gow said: "The acquisition strengthens our position in the growing prepared salads market in France - an area in which we have considerable experience in the UK - and improves our ability to distribute short shelf life products on a national scale to major retailers."