Irish food and ingredients manufacturer Kerry has bought Quest Food Ingredients from the ICI Group for around $440m.

Quest Food deals in applications of bio-ingredients and pharma-ingredients, serving pharmaceuticals, culinary snack, bakery, diary and confectionery markets worthwhile.

Chief executive at Kerry, Hugh Friel, said the acquisition would expand its position in taste and texture ingredients and add new technology platforms to Kerry.

Friel added: “With the increasing focus by the global food industry on the key areas of health, nutrition and food safety, the acquisition means additional exciting growth opportunities for the group.”

Quest Food operates from nine major international sourcing units in the UK, the Netherlands, Malaysia and the US. In 2003, the company had sales of $225m with a pre-tax profit of $37m.