Deoleo sells brands including Bertolli and Carbonell

Deoleo sells brands including Bertolli and Carbonell

The board of Spain-based olive oil group Deoleo has agreed to sell the company to UK private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

CVC had tabled an offer for the Bertolli and Carbonell olive oil maker worth EUR0.38 a share, valuing the business at EUR438.8m (US$609.5m).

The private-equity firm will first acquire 29.99% of Deoleo held by a number of Spanish banks. CVC will then buy the rest of the business. It may also purchase additional shares that could be issued by Deoleo to improve its balance sheet.

In 2013, Deoleo made a net profit of EUR20m, compared to a loss of EUR245.6m in 2012. The company managed to reduce its debts during the year but they still stood at EUR472m by the end of 2013.

Sales and EBITDA were lower year-on-year as the company was unable to pass through an increase in raw material costs.

Deoleo said in February it had received "indicative" bids for the business. Earlier that month, Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, reported private-equity firms Carlyle Group, CVC and PAI Partners were considering taking a majority stake in Deoleo.

Last month, Italian state investment bank The Fondo Strategico Italiano was reported to have made an offer for 30% of Deoleo.

Yesterday, The Financial Times reported Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as saying the Spanish government had an "ideological aversion" to an Italian company taking control of Deoleo.

"If the English fund wins the deal, evidently the fund has made the best offer, but two days ago there appeared to be a kind of ideological aversion to having an Italian owner, which is unacceptable," Renzi was reported to have said.