Buy-out firms 3i and Ibersuizas are among the bidders looking to acquire a stake in Spanish dairy Leche Pascual, which the company has put on the block to raise cash in the face of a deepening recession, private equity executives told just-food today (10 December).

"They are negotiating with several companies, including 3i and Ibersuizas," a top executive in Madrid familiar with the process told just-food.

"They [Pascual] need cash to meet short-term debt payments with banks such as Santander and BBVA."

Pascual's debt stands at some EUR400m, much of which was used to fund Pascual's aggressive push into the functional foods market

The Madrid-based firm, which sells Spain's leading milk brand Leche Pascual as well as yoghurt, juice and cereal products, declined to comment while UK-based 3i and Spain's Ibersuizas were not immediately available for comment.

The buy-out source said Pascual, which generates annual sales of around EUR1bn and EBITDA of EUR50m, wants to sell a minority stake but not more than 30%.