Vandemoortele is to receive a E75m (£68m) investment from Belgian private equity firm Gimv. The additional share capital will allow the firm to continue its growth in the bakery and lipids market, following its decision in January to sell off its soya foods division, Alpro.

The Gimv-XL fund is a recent initiative of Gimv, aimed at growing companies in Flanders - an area of Belgium. "This has been a long-mooted activity," Adrian Roberts, UK commercial director at Vandemoortele, told British Baker.

"The company’s intention has always been to expand its share capital. Gimv is specifically focused on growth companies, and Vandemoortele is a fast-growing food company, so it was a perfect fit."

The Belgian group’s bakery and lipids divisions currently make up around 80% of its turnover and Roberts said the additional share capital will allow the firm to continue with its expansion plans.

"Gimv has seen the actions we’ve taken recently in the bakery sector, acquiring the French bakery business Panavi, and their involvement underlines the fact they agree with our strategy," said Roberts.

"The soya disposal is a strategic decision - we’ve grown it successfully, and we can now see it would be better realised by a larger organisation. At the same time, we’ve clearly marked out the bakery and lipids sectors as two areas where we have substantial growth opportunities, and we want to focus on those," he said.

"The acquisition of Panavi in France is another large step in implementing our strategy and we have further substantial growth ambitions in the bakery sector."

The integration of Panavi has been going very well, he added. "It is achieving all the objectives that we’ve set and we’re confident it will continue to do so."