Dutch food group CSM has sold its Irish confectionery subsidiary Leaf Ireland to Zed Gum for an undisclosed sum.

Irish group Zed Gum will use the unit in Kilcock, Co Kildare, which has 115 workers, to expand its production facility.

The acquisition of Leaf Ireland 'is to provide the critical mass necessary to service a global customer base,' said Brendan Roantree, Zed Gum's Managing Director.

Leaf Ireland has an annual turnover of 15 million euros and moderate profitability, CSM said in a statement on Friday.

Zed gum commenced production in 1999. It is headed by three confectionery managers, two of whom previously worked for Leaf Ireland.

The move will bring the Kilcock factory, which currently produces ball gum and freeze pops, into Irish ownership for the first time since its establishment in 1959.

Zed Gum plans to grow between 10-15% a year for the next five years. It is projecting an initial annual turnover of 20m euro for the combined entity.

The company currently operates from a facility in Blanchardstown, where it exports novelty children's gum products into 27 international markets. The US accounts for 60% of sales, the UK 25% and Canada 15%.

CSM acquired Leaf Ireland in 1999, when it bought the company from Finland's Huhtamaki.