ITALY: Parmalat expands into biscuits
In a flurry of shifts affecting the dairy sector, Italian multinational Parmalat has purchased US biscuit company BI for US$250m and, at home, paid Lit147bn for Gala Italia in Sicily and Carnini in Como. Ma Holding ranks third in the US biscuit market, its Mother's and Archway brands generating US$250m in annual sales.Gala Italia had national sales of Lit128bn a year and ended up losing in the bidding for the privatisation of the big municipal dairy company in Milan, won by Granorolo of Bologna for Lit130bn. Gala Italia says it plans to maintain its operations in Hungary (annual sales Lit186bn).At the same time, Parmalat is to divest some of its UHT business at home. This was a condition of Anti-Trust clearance of its purchase earlier this year of the dairy operations of rival Cirio for over Lit600bn. The potential buyer, for a reported Lit125bn, is believed to be a US company, although its identity is yet to be revealed.Meanwhile, Granarolo said it would bid in the privatisation of other city dairy companies, particularly in Vicenza in the north and Salerno in the south. Granarolo put its first half sales at Lit473bn for a growth of 10.4%, pre-tax profit being Lit7.7bn, up 31%.
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