The spices, seasonings and flavourings specialist McCormick & Co. has announced that it has agreed to acquire the remaining 49% share of Dessert Products International, S.A.S. (DPI) which it does not already own from the Swiss group Hero AG.

Hero is also a partner with McCormick in the Signature Brands LLC joint venture and as part of the deal, McCormick will exchange its 50% stake in Signature Brands with Hero's 49% participation in DPI.

McCormick said the deal, expected to be completed in March subject to regulatory approvals, was part of a plan to simplify its business and focus on areas with strong growth potential. The company added that the impact of the deal on its sales and net income would be neutral.

McCormick & Co. acquired a 51% stake in DPI, which markets the Vahine dessert aid brand in France and other European countries, when it bought Ducros in August 2000.