China's state-owned Bright Food to purchase 56% stake in Truva, Israel's biggest food producer; financial details not disclosed; Truva supplies mainly dairy products, frozen vegetables, eggs and meat

SHANGHAI , May 22, 2014 () – China's state-owned Bright Food will take a majority stake in Israel's biggest food producer Tnuva, it said Thursday in the latest step of an overseas buying spree.

Bright Food, which controls British cereals firm Weetabix, has signed a preliminary agreement with London-based private equity firm Apax Partners to acquire a 56 percent stake in Tnuva, the Chinese firm said in a statement.

Bright Food said the agreement was reached in Tel Aviv early Thursday. It did not provide any financial details but Israeli media had said the deal would value Tnuva at 8.6 billion shekels ($2.5 billion).

Bright Food could not be reached by AFP for confirmation of the price but said in the statement: "The cooperation between Bright Food and Tnuva will allow both parties to exchange their superior resources and achieve win-win results in terms of cooperation."

Founded by collective farmers in 1926 -- before the state of Israel -- Tnuva is now the country's largest food manufacturer, supplying mainly dairy products, frozen vegetables, as well as eggs and meat.

It recorded a net profit of 520 million shekels in 2013, down 56 percent year-on-year due to property sales in 2012.

Shanghai-based Bright Food has been aggressively searching for overseas assets in recent years to expand its global footprint.

The food giant paid $1.94 billion in 2012 for a 60 percent stake in Weetabix and acquired a 75 percent in Australia's Manassen Foods in 2011, in a deal that valued the target firm at more than $520 million.

Shares of Bright Dairy & Food, the listed unit of Bright Food, closed up 2.29 percent at 18.29 yuan ($2.93) after the announcement.

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(c) 2014 Agence France-Presse

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