SCHLIEREN, SWITZERLAND — Aryzta AG earlier this month reached agreement with Lion Capital and Invest Group Zouari for Aryzta’s remaining 4.64% interest in Picard, a French food retailer that specializes in the frozen food market. The transaction, valued at €24 million ($29.14 million), is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2021.

Invest Group Zouari acquired a 43% stake in Picard from Aryzta back in late 2019. Aryzta had acquired a 49% stake in Picard for €447 million in 2015, but in August 2018 the company’s board of directors revealed plans to raise up to €800 million in equity capital to help implement the company’s business plan. Part of that plan included disposal of assets.

Urs Jordi, chairman and interim chief executive officer of Aryzta, welcomed the conclusion of the Picard disposal and said that “the board and management of Aryzta is now fully focused on delivering its two-part plan to improve the business performance, reduce costs by 25% and significantly strengthen its balance sheet with the planned disposal of its Americas businesses.”

Separately, Aryzta announced Chris Plüss has been named managing director of Aryzta Germany, effective March 1. Mr. Plüss is currently chief operating officer of APMEA (Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Africa) at Aryzta. Prior to Aryzta he worked at Fressnapf Switzerland, Brands pluss, HACO Swiss Group and Unilever.