The private equity owner of UK seafood group Young’s and frozen food specialist Findus has decided to join the companies under a new holding company.

The company, to be named The Foodvest Group, will generate annual sales of around GBP1.1bn (US$2.2bn) from operations in markets including the UK, France, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

CapVest, the UK-based private equity firm, which bought Young’s in 2002 and Findus in 2006, have largely run the two companies separately. 

However, from the end of the month, the businesses will be run under the Foodvest banner.

The Young’s business will be split into two under the plans. Young’s Seafood will focus on branded seafood, while a new business, The Seafood Company, will produce own-label chilled seafood.

Former Findus executive Per Harkjaer will become Foodvest’s CEO. He said rising commodity costs had been part of the rationale for the shake-up of the company.

“We are faced with significant market challenges such as continuing inflation in food raw material costs and rising consumer expectations of our industry,” Harkjaer said. “We need to continue to be highly focused, efficient and innovative to deliver on the fantastic opportunities we have before us.”

Young’s Seafood deputy CEO Mike Parker will be number two behind Harkjaer. Meanwhile, Young’s Seafood CEO Wynne Griffiths will become non-executive chairman of the group.

The structure of Findus’ business in continental Europe will remain “largely unchanged”, the company said.