Icelandic manufacturer of fresh prepared foods Bakkavör Group has acquired UK chilled desserts manufacturer Laurens Patisseries for GBP130m (US$239m). The company said Barclay’s Bank and Bakkavör shares would finance the purchase.

The acquisition will strengthen Bakkavör’s presence in the value-added desserts sector. Bakkavör said that Laurens was an attractive acquisition because it is a well-managed business with strong customer relations and a good reputation.

Laurens complements Bakkavör’s current business portfolio and supplies the group’s existing customers.

The UK’s premium dessert and cake sector grew by 6% in 2005 and is estimated to be worth around GBP400m annually. Laurens’ 2005 sales grew by around 20%.

Currently, Laurens has around 130 products and specialises in cream-based desserts such as choux products, slices, doughnuts, trifles, custard tarts and potted desserts. This complements Bakkavör’s existing dessert portfolio, the company said.