Frozen bakery and prepared foods are key growth areas for Swiss global bakery foods giant Aryzta AG, which expected by July to complete two acquisitions valued at $1.08 billion.

Aryzta, Zurich, said it will "substantially enhance its strategic market position" with deals for  Fresh Start Bakeries, Brea, Calif., for $900 million; and Great Kitchens Inc., Romeoville, Ill., for $180 million.

A global fresh hamburger and hot dog bun supplier, Fresh Start also owns Pennant Foods Inc., an Itasca, Ill., a retail and foodservice supplier of frozen bread doughs, cookies, and sweet goods; and Sweet Life Enterprises, Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif., processor of frozen cookies and sweet goods for quick-service restaurants.

Great Kitchens specializes in frozen pizza and specialty sandwiches for private label retail, contract and foodservice customers.

Aryzta already owns La Brea Bakery Inc., a Van Nuys, Calif.-based supplier of fresh and frozen breads and rolls to the retail and foodservice channels. It also owns Otis Spunkmeyer Inc., a San Leandro, Calif., processor of frozen dough cookies and sweet goods for customers across all channels.

Said Aryzta, "From a business perspective, we will operate with a greater geographic footprint and with much better channel access to consumers. These acquisitions double our manufactured volumes with an additional 30 production locations in nine countries."

Aryzta reflects the 2008 merger of Ireland's IAWS Group plc with Hiestand Holding AG, Zurich. IAWS Group purchased La Brea Bakery in 2001. It acquired Otis Spunkmeyer in 2006.