French poultry group LDC has indicated that its acquisition of Marie from Uniq is expected to provide it with a foundation to expand its branded business in the French chilled and frozen prepared foods market. 

LDC today (26 June) confirmed that it hopes to acquire 100% of Marie in a deal worth EUR60m (US$84.5m). The French group would also assume responsibility for Marie’s net debt of EUR13m.

“We already produce fresh prepared meals for the retail market, but these are mainly private label. Five years ago we said we aimed to develop chilled brands but we didn’t have a great brand. With Marie, it is for us a way to have such a position on the French market and develop categories of products,” Philippe Gelin, LCD MD of fresh meals, told just-food.

Marie produces branded prepared meals across a number of categories, including pizza, pies, quiches and precooked chilled and frozen meals. The business generated a turnover of EUR265m in 2008 and operates seven production facilities in France.

Gelin said LCD expects the deal to generate a number of synergies, with possible consolidation of production.

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Refusing to rule out job cuts, he commented: “The profitability of the firm has to be grown. We have to discover how the structure – in plants and headquarters – could require some adjustment.”

In order to grow the business, LDC is planning investment in innovation and marketing, Gelin revealed. However, he said that the company currency has no plans to export Marie products overseas.

“We don’t forecast to export Marie at this time. We have to develop frozen and fresh products first,” he said.