MTR Foods, an India-based business owned by Norway’s Orkla , has been linked in media reports to the acquisition of a controlling stake in local peer Eastern Condiments .

According to The Economic Times newspaper, Bangalore-based MTR, which makes packaged food ranging from ready-to-eat curries and rice dishes to ice cream and milk drinks, is close to buying Kochi-based Eastern Condiments, which makes and sells spices, condiments, pickles and sweet mixes.

Orkla told just-food it would not comment on merger and acquisition speculation.

The Economic Times reported the Meeran family, which control 74% of Eastern Condiments, has been trying to sell its controlling stake for more than a year.

The remaining 26% is held by US spices and seasonings giant McCormick & Co., which has owned the shareholding for almost a decade.

If the newspaper is correct, it would not be the first time Orkla has used MTR as a way to invest in other businesses in India.

In May 2018, Orkla invested in FirmRoots, an Indian snacks start-up, via an investment food set up by MTR Foods.

Orkla, which acquired MTR in 2007, further showed its ambitions for the Indian market in 2017 when it entered the country’s sweets category through the launch of its Laban Norwegian confectionery brand there.

just-food has asked Eastern Condiments and McCormick & Co. for comment on this story.

McCormick said that it does not comment on M&A speculation.