By gaining control of the confectionery maker, which generates revenues of around €70 million each year, Arques hope to increase its own group profits to €1.4 billion. Van Netten produces fruit gums, jellies, sweets and sugar coated candies. The company, based in Dortmund, supplies trade chains with private and store brands throughout the key markets of Germany, Eastern Europe and the EU. Arques executive chairman Dr Peter Löw said: "With the confectionery manufactuerer, van Netten, we have acquired a traditional company which has been firmly established on the market for years. "Van Netten is not only a partner to the trade but also to the industry and is considered a reliable and competent service provider which has already developed numerous confectionery innovations." Arques specialises in the acquisition of medium-sized businesses in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, concentrating on those with revenues of at least €250 million. The van Netten buy-out is its fifth this year and others are planned in order to meet the group's 2007 annual revenue target of €1.5 billion. Private equity companies have increasingly been turning their attention to the food sector as an area of lucrative growth. In the UK, the second largest biscuit manufacturer Burton's was the subject of a tussle between two leading equity firms earlier this year. The British group, Duke Capital, acquired the biscuit maker in a deal worth around €200 million while another leading biscuit producer, United Biscuits, was acquired by a consortium involving Blackstone and PAI at the end of last year and Lion Capital targeted crisp company Kettle in September.