EFEMexico City

Mexico's Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest baking company, will consolidate its dominant position in Spain and Portugal with the just-announced acquisition of Panrico.

News of the acquisition was leaked in Spain on Saturday, and Bimbo on Monday confirmed the deal, "which includes 100 percent of the shares, excluding the category of trademarked sliced bread and bread substitutes."

"This transaction is contingent on the results of an audit to be conducted in the next few weeks, the execution of several contracts related to the potential acquisition and (regulatory) approval," Bimbo said in a statement.

Panrico is one of the leading baking companies in Spain and Portugal, where it operates nine plants and has several top-selling brands, such as Donuts, Bollycao and La Bella Esaso.

Bimbo is already present in Spain and Portugal through its Bimbo Iberia subsidiary, selling more than 100 products under the Bimbo, Silueta, Ortiz, Martinez, Eagle, Thins, Oroweat and Thomas' brands.

The Mexican company claims the title of "the world's largest baker," based on "production and sales," and operates 167 plants and roughly 1,600 sales outlets in 22 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The main Bimbo product lines include fresh and frozen sliced bread; buns; crackers; pastries; muffins; bagels; packaged products; tortillas; salty snacks; and confections, among others.

Bimbo also owns one of the world's largest distribution networks, with more than 2.4 million points of sale and a workforce of over 128,000.

Bimbo was founded by Lorenzo Servitje, the son of a Catalonian immigrant, who in 1928 inherited the El Molino pastry shop in a partnership with Bonet and Tinoco.

In 1945, Servitje and his partners, Jaime Jorba, Jaime Sendra, Alfonso Velasco and Jose T. Mata, founded Panificacion Bimbo.

Bimbo entered Spain half a century ago and currently has a 40 percent share of the bread market, with the Panrico deal expected to boost that share to 49.3 percent.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bimbo would retain Panrico's 2,000 employees, acquire its trademarks and take over its nine plants in Spain and Portugal.

Bimbo recently completed an investment of 50 million euros ($56.7 million) to build the largest bakery in Europe in Azuqueca de Henares, Spain.