Labeyrie Fine Foods is to take a 50% stake in French smoked trout specialist Aqualande for an undisclosed sum.

Aqualande’s commercial and marketing director, Stéphane Dargelas, confirmed to just-food the investment would pave the way for a EUR25m (US$26.8m) investment project that will double the company’s production capacity and create up to 150 jobs by 2020.

The deal, which is subject to competition approval, will strengthen Labeyrie’s presence in the smoked fish segment where it already has sizeable activities in salmon.

Aqualande has a 70% share of the smoked trout market in France and produces around 2,700 tonnes each year.

The company, which is 100%-owned by co-operative, Les Aquaculteurs Landais, posted a turnover of EUR86m last year, the majority generated by its smoked trout brands Landvika and Ovive.

Annual exports of smoked trout total around EUR2m but Aqualande’s global international business represents sales of EUR13m when shipments of trout eggs and minnows of other varieties of fish such as bream, bass and lean fish are added.