Belgium food group Ter Beke has bought a majority holding in the UK’s KK Fine Foods, giving the company access to what it said is the largest ready-made meals market in Europe.

Ter Beke acquired 90% of the shares in KK Fine Foods and the remainder will stay in the hands of existing shareholders, according to a statement yesterday (11 September), which provided no financial details for the deal. The UK firm booked a turnover of EUR39m (US$46.6m) in 2016, the statement said.

KK Fine Foods CEO and founder Leyla Edwards started the company in 1987, with the foodservice business its biggest target market. Her son Samir Edwards now runs the business and will remain as managing director of the firm, which will continue to operate independently.  

The transaction adds to a number of deals executed this year by Ter Beke, which counts its Come a Casa range as one of its key brands.The company bought the shares it did not yet own in French ready-meals maker Stefano Toselli in July, and also took full control of its Polish joint venture The Pasta Food Company. As a result of those acquisitions, turnover increased by EUR80m on an annual basis, according to yesterday’s statement.

And just last week, Ter Beke announced it was seeking to take over the fresh foods business unit of the Netherland’s Zwanenberg Food Group, which it said would mean a EUR131m expansion of its processed meats division.

Speaking about the latest transaction, Dirk Goeminne, CEO at Ter Beke, said: “The takeover offers us a great opportunity to capitalise on the potential of KK Fine Foods by offering their products on the European mainland, and vice versa. For Ter Beke, food service is another area which is ripe for exploitation and provides us with the perfect springboard on which to develop as a group.”