The merger between Irish food group IAWS and Hiestand is all but complete after shareholders in the Switzerland-based baker approved the deal.

The EUR2.7bn (US$3.96bn) deal, which will create a new company, Aryzta, won the approval of 91.3% votes at Hiestand's extraordinary general meeting yesterday (19 August). News of the support came despite recent reports in Switzerland and Ireland that a group of disgruntled investors in Hiestand were unhappy with the structure of the deal.

The vote followed last month's backing from shareholders of IAWS, who will hold an 83.3% stake in Aryzta. Free-float shareholders in Hiestand will hold 8.7% of the enlarged company with private equity firm Lion Capital taking an 8% stake.

Hiestand said its shareholder vote "clears the path for Hiestand Holding's merger with IAWS to form the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of frozen bakery and ready-to-bake products".

The last effective trading day of Hiestand shares on the Swiss stock exchange was today. A general meeting of Aryzta shareholders will take place tomorrow and trading in the company's shares will start on Friday (22 August).