Swiss food giant Nestlé has said its German unit is to acquire 49% of frozen pizza firm Wagner Tiefkühlprodukte, based in Nonnweiler-Braunshausen.

Pending approval by the appropriate authorities, the transaction will go ahead on 1 January 2005.

With a market share of approximately 33% and turnover of around €200m (US$268.4m), Wagner is the second-largest player on the German frozen pizza market. Its product range includes "Steinofen-Pizza", "La Pizza" and an assortment of deep frozen snack products.

"We see together great opportunities to develop the business further, combining the Wagner management strengths, their strong brand equity and their product quality with Nestlé Group's global sales reach, our marketing know-how and research & development competences," said Patrice Bula, chairman of Nestlé Deutschland.

In 2003, the German frozen pizza market volume was valued at more than €700m with an average growth rate of around 8%. Besides supplying the domestic market, Wagner exports to several Western European countries, including Austria where it has a market share of approximately 25%.