French wine group Castel is set to buy  Friedrich, the Bag-in Box (BIB) market leader in France, for an undisclosed sum.

"BIB is a very buoyant segment in France and we see it continuing in this vein for some time to come," a Castel spokesman told just-drinks from Vinexpo in Bordeaux. "Friedrich has six BIB packaging lines while we have four so together we'll be a potent force," he added.

He confirmed that a draft agreement had been signed with the Nantes-based firm, which posted a 2006 turnover of EUR 85m, two-thirds being generated by BIB sales which totalled 11m units. As well as its 31% share of France's BIB market, Friedrich also trades in Loire and Touraine wines as well distributors own brands.

The spokesman declined to disclose what share Castel has of the French BIB market nor what it represents in terms of turnover. Of Castel's 2006 turnover of just over EUR2bn around 40% came from wines.