Belgian firm Vandemoortele Food Group is poised to take over Panavi, France’s leading manufacturer of frozen bakery products, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, endorsed by the Panavi group’s shareholders and subject to approval by the French regulatory authorities, will mean a substantial expansion of Vandemoortele’s frozen bakery products operations, which produced turnover of £230 million in 2007. With 11 production units across Europe, including four in France and one in the UK, it produces and distributes a wide range of breakfast pastry, pastry and bread as well as American products, including donuts, muffins, cookies and brownies.

Jean Vandemoortele, president of the executive committee of the group, said: "The European market for frozen bakery products sees growth of 5-10% each year. Within Europe, France is the largest market for frozen bread, breakfast pastry and pastry. After the take-over of Panavi, Vandemoortele, with its extensive and unique product range, 34 factories and 3,800 employees, will rank itself among the key players in Europe."

Panavi’s product range consists mainly of bread and breakfast pastry and the company supplies all the large chains of shops and wholesalers in France. It employs 2,000 staff, has 22 factories and 17 distribution centres, and turned over £245m in 2007.

Vandemoortele recorded turnover of £692m last year.