Dutch food company Royal Numico has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire EAC Nutrition, a leading Asian baby food company, for a total consideration of €1.2bn (US$1.4bn) in cash.

The acquisition is expected to be earnings neutral by the end of the first full year of consolidation - excluding exceptional items - and accretive from there onwards.

Numico said the deal would provide it with leading market positions through the Dumex brand in the fast growing Asian infant nutrition market, most notably in China, Malaysia and Thailand. The company said the Asian infant nutrition market forms a significant and sustainable opportunity characterised by a very low per capita consumption, a high number of births and increasing GDP per capita, offering ample growth opportunities.

Numico also said the business, which will be managed as a separate division within Numico, is an excellent strategic and geographical fit with its existing business in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

"With this acquisition, Numico moves an important step further in becoming the truly leading, high-growth, high-margin specialised nutrition company. We are very confident that this acquisition will create superior value for consumers, employees and shareholders alike," said Jan Bennink, CEO of Numico.