Italian dairy giant Parmalat has confirmed reports that it is on the lookout for acquisition targets in Australia.

“Acquisition is one way that we are considering to grow our business,” a spokesperson for the company told just-food.

“Australia is a very important market for us and we hope to capitalise on opportunities arising there,” the spokesperson added.

Speaking to shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday (9 April) chief executive Enrico Bondi said that the company intended to participate in the consolidation process currently occurring in the Australian dairy market.

“We are not predators but we have cash, which allows us to consider expansion,” Bondi reportedly told shareholders.

Analysts have identified Parmalat as a potential suitor for Australian dairy group Dairy Farmers, which said in February that it was “evaluating ownership options” – including the possibility of a sale.

According to local reports, Dairy Farmers recently closed the first round of the bidding process. 

The deal has been valued at A$800m-A$1bn (US$743m – US$929m).

Parmalat refused to explicitly confirm its interest in Dairy Farmers, but Bondi purportedly told shareholders that Australia’s number two dairy group was up for grabs.