Spain’s Ebro Foods bought a 52% stake in Italy’s Geovita Functional Ingredients and its subsidiary Geovita Nutrition for EUR16.5m (US$20m) as part of its growth in the healthy food category.

Geovita is a seller of legumes, rice, fast-cooking grains and other healthy ingredients. The company has a workforce of 94 across three production plants in Bruno, San Giovanni Lupaloto and Villanova Monferrato.

“This operation is part of the Ebro Group’s growth strategy in the Convenience and Healthy Food segment and demonstrates the company’s commitment to offering and promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle, in which legumes play a very important role,” Ebro said today (6 September).

The deal is Ebro’s third of 2017. In April, Deoleo, the Spain-based olive oil supplier, has sold its last remaining rice business asset in the country to Ebro.

In January, Ebro snapped up Spanish organic business Vegetalia. That deal followed another Ebro made in the organic sector when in early 2016 the company bought French organic food group Celnat.