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UK Investment Partners, a private equity group, has bought France's largest maker of own-label salty snacks for an undisclosed sum.

The group said it hopes to develop the existing product range of the stapled chips and extruded products manufacturer, as well as launch new lines, in addition to exporting to new markets such as the UK.

Snack International, owned by the Caillavet family, holds over 60 per cent of the salted snack private label market in France, but also operates in the entry price and hard discount sectors.

The private equity group, which claims to have extensive experience in the food processing sector, said this is its tenth outlay in France.

"The business has an established track record and experienced management team, headed by Snacks International's chairman, Jean-Pierre Caillavet," IK managing partner Christopher Masek said. "The business has a number of attractive growth opportunities and we look forward to working with Mr Caillavet and his team to take Snacks International forward to the next phase of its development."

Caillavet, who bought the business in 1997, said IK would bring "real hands-on experience" that would be "invaluable" in developing Snacks International.

"I am particularly excited by the opportunities to launch new products and develop the business internationally," Caillavet said.

The investment firm said its current portfolio of food manufacturers includes Poland's Agros Nova, leading Dutch private label biscuit maker Continental Bakeries, French seafood processor, Labeyrie, along with Belgium fish processor and distributor, Lithells, and Hjem-Is Europa, a distributor of ice cream in Scandinavia.

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