Finnish-based food group HK Ruokatalo has announced that it aims to generate up to €36.2m (US$44.5m) in new equity through a share issue.

The company said the capital generated from the share issue would primarily be used for investments aimed at developing the group's international and domestic business, as well as for strengthening the group's capital structure.

Lately HK Ruokatalo has stepped up its investment to increase its international business, mainly though acquisitions in the Baltics and Poland. Since 2002, the company has steadily increased its ownership in Polish meat company Sokolów, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

This autumn, HK Ruokatalo commenced strategic cooperation in Sokolów with Danish meat company Danish Crown. The two companies set up a 50/50 joint venture named Saturn Nordic Holding, which currently owns 52.64% of the shares in Sokolów and has recently made a public tender offer, which may lead to the purchase of the rest of Sokolów's shares.

HK Ruokatalo said it plans to continue investments and development of its business in the Baltic region as part of its aim to become the leading meat company in the Baltic region.

The company also announced that it is to propose the election of Kjeld Johannesen, CEO of Danish Crown, to its board of directors.