US food manufacturer Monterey Gourmet Foods has said it has acquired 60% ownership in Casual Gourmet Foods (CGF), a refrigerated specialty food products firm.

Monterey Gourmet Foods said it paid CGF shareholders US$6.0m cash for 60% of the company. Additionally, the acquisition agreement provides for the purchase of the remaining 40% ownership over the next three years. CGF will continue during that period to operate as a separate entity under its current management.

CGF has annual sales of over $13m and markets a range of refrigerated branded foods, including chicken sausages, chicken burgers, and gourmet soups.

“Casual Gourmet represents a valuable addition to Monterey Gourmet Foods and is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2005. This acquisition supports our growth strategy in the specialty premium refrigerated food category…We envision expanding the existing Casual Gourmet brand, developing new products, and increasing distribution in club, retail, and potentially other channels,” said Jim Williams, Monterey Gourmet’s president and CEO.