US food company Ralcorp Holdings has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase frozen baked foods firm Bakery Chef from an investment group led by private equity firm Wind Point Partners.

As well as being a leading manufacturer of frozen griddle products (pancakes, waffles and French toast) and frozen pre-baked biscuits, sold primarily in the foodservice channel, Bakery Chef also produces pre-baked frozen muffins, breads and rolls.

Ralcorp has agreed to pay $287.5m in cash for Bakery Chef, which had net sales of $165m in 2002. Ralcorp said it expects the transaction to immediately add between $0.25 and $0.35 to diluted earnings per share on an annual basis.

The transaction is expected to close within thirty days. Ralcorp said it will finance the acquisition primarily through borrowings under its existing $275m revolving credit facility.

Ralcorp said Bakery Chef will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ralcorp and will operate as a platform for entry into the foodservice channel and frozen food segment.

Illinois-based Bakery Chef operates five manufacturing facilities and employs approximately 800 people.