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FoodVest, through its Sweden-based foods subsidiary Findus, has signed a letter of agreement to acquire all shares in GRO Industrier, Norway’s leading frozen vegetables producer. Shares in GRO Industrier were bought from Norway-based BAMA Gruppen and A.L. Gartnerhallen.

The acquisition, said Per Harkjaer, Findus’s CEO, is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to focus on core markets in France and Scandinavia. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“By acquiring GRO Industrier we are doubling the size of our Norwegian business, which is 100% in line with our strategy to develop a strong market position in our core markets.” The deal will have a significant impact on Findus’s operations in Norway. “Following the acquisition, Findus Norway’s revenues will rise to around EUR150m (US$197.3m) in the first year, while the company will be the market leader in frozen fish, ready meals and vegetables,” said Harkjaer.

The acquisition is subject to approval by competition authorities in Norway. Findus is owned by FoodVest, which also owns Young’s Seafood in Britain. The turnover of FoodVest Group was EUR1.2b in 2005.

GRO Industrier posted an operating profit of EUR6.3m on revenues of EUR66m in 2005. The company has factories in Grimstad, Tönsberg, Lier, Brummundal and Hardanger.

Findus AB had sales in 2005 of EUR120m. The vendors BAMA and A.L. Gartnerhallen are both engaged in the food industry in Norway. BAMA is a wholesaler of fresh fruit and vegetables with revenues of EUR700m in 2005, while A.L. Gartnerhallen is a producers’ organisation for fruit and vegetables with 2005 revenues of EUR125m.