German-based fruit beverages company Eckes-Granini Group has acquired the Swedish premium fruit juice producer Brämhults Juice AB from from Mellby Gård Industri AB.

The deal, which was completed on 1 July, 2007 sees Eckes-Granini acquire 100% of the Swedish company, which is the only producer in the growing segment of chilled, locally pressed fruit juices in the Nordic region. Financial details were not disclosed.

Eckes said the acquisition represents another important milestone in its European growth strategy, while also expanding its presence in Scandinavian markets. The company already has subsidiaries in Finland and Lithuania. It said it was planning to invest around EUR5m (US$6.8m) in expanding production capacity at the Swedish company, primarily at the Brämhults facility.

"Our goal is to increase Eckes-Granini's earnings and company value on the basis of strong brands," said Thomas Hinderer, CEO of the Eckes- Granini Group. "And the premium producer Brämhults is a perfect fit for our strategy and philosophy. Chilled products are becoming increasingly important in Europe. And thus we expect the takeover to yield key synergetic effects for the group as well as strong potential for future growth."

Following the acquisition, the Eckes-Granini Group will have 11 national subsidiaries operating across Europe.

Founded in 1947 and named after the town of Brämhults in south-western Sweden, Brämhults employs 60 people at two production facilities. The company generated turnover of EUR27m in the year to 30 June, 2007.

Brämhults is the number two fruit juice company in value terms in Sweden and number three in Denmark. The company has also begun to establish a presence in Norway and Finland.