Administrators of insolvent Italian food group Cirio are reported to have recommended that the company accepts a bid for its Cirio-De Rica food unit from Conserve Italia.

"The commissioners have recommended the bid from Conserve Italia for Cirio-De Rica," Reuters quoted a source close to the deal as saying.

Conserve Italia is believed to have offered just over €150m (US$184.6m) for Cirio-De Rica, which includes Cirio's main Italian assets. Conserve Italia and Alimentare were the only two companies left in the bidding process.

Cirio was declared insolvent in 2003 after defaulting on €1.1bn of bonds. Any sale of Cirio-De Rica will have to be approved by the Italian government.