The Co-operative Group has agreed to buy United Co-operatives’ chilled and frozen distribution arm Norpak for an undisclosed sum.

There are at least two months of due diligence to go through first, said a spokeswoman, but “the deal has been agreed in principle”.

Norpak, which handles chilled and frozen distribution for third parties such as Makro, as well as United Co-op, will be integrated into the Co-op Group’s distribution arm ACC, said United boss Peter Marks.

“By dealing with ACC on a third party basis we will be able to focus on retailing.”

Norpak, which is run as a fully autonomous business within United, provides storage and distribution for more than 40 manufacturers in the UK and overseas from a one million cubic feet site at Eccleshall, Staffordshire.