Bakkavör chief executive Agúst Gudmundsson has declared that the ready meals giant is "definitely here to stay" after securing a major new refinancing agreement with the lenders to its Icelandic holding company.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer, after the company reported a much improved performance for 2009, Gudmundsson said the refinancing gave Bakkavör the headroom it needed to grow the UK business but that it "would not be back on the acquisition trail" anytime soon.

The company refinanced £316m of debt. Half of this has been turned into equity with the other half becoming a 'convertible debt instrument' maturing into equity in 2014. Bakkavör has had to give 26.7% of its equity away to creditors.

CFO Richard Howes said the refinancing had taken longer to secure than the company had hoped, as most of its lenders were based in Iceland and the economic turmoil there had made matters "much more difficult".

The group reduced losses by £142.4m in 2009, with a loss for the year of £11.8m compared with £154.2m the previous year.