Investment fund 3i has sold its 25% shareholding in French dairy firm Senoble to the company's namesake founding family.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, gives the Senoble family full control of the business.

3i acquired the stake in 2004 through an increase in Senoble's capital designed to fund acquisitions abroad.

"Senoble, which had a strong industrial base in France, was looking, with our help, to move into other European markets. Today, it's a case of mission accomplished," said Olivier LeGall, associate director of 3i France.

During 3i's tenure as shareholder, Senoble made four acquisitions outside of France, including UK-based cakes and desserts firm Elisabeth the Chef in September last year.

Senoble's turnover has almost doubled over the period, rising from EUR630m (US$985m) to a projected EUR1.1bn this year. International markets now account for 55% of sales, rising from 25% in 2004. Retailers' own-brands represent 85% of Senoble's turnover.

Senoble CEO Marc Senoble appeared to rule out, for the foreseeable future, a stock market listing or a replacement for 3i.

He said: "While I can only congratulate myself for having chosen 3i, you are never more credible in the eyes of the major retailing groups than when you are independent."