Spanish functional-foods maker Natraceutical said yesterday (9 October) that it sold a 5% stake to local real estate firm Nozar for EUR21.6m (US$27.15m), triggering a 15% jump in its share price to EUR1.93.

The move came as Spanish brokerage firm Ibersecurities updated Natraceutical's stock rating to "buy," saying that the company's future looks bright.

Natraceutical's president said the deal highlights "investors' confidence in our company's growth potential."

Nozar, which will take a seat on Natraceutical's board, is also expected to back Natracuetical's EUR61m upcoming share offer to finance its recent acquisition of Forte Pharma.

Natraceutical's recent international acquisitions and expansion efforts have created a "successful business model" ideally positioned to take advantage of the burgeoning global functional-ingredients market, which is growing 20% annually, Ibersecurities said.

Ibersecurities forecast that Natraceuticals will deliver operating profits of EUR14m this year, up 7-fold from EUR2m in 2005. Revenues are expected to increase 130% to EUR108m.