Move marks "start of a new phase" - Deoleo CEO and chairman Pierluigi Tosato

Move marks "start of a new phase" - Deoleo CEO and chairman Pierluigi Tosato

Deoleo has announced the Spain-based olive oil firm's shareholders have approved plans to reduce the company's share capital by EUR323m (US$364m) – and said executive chairman Rosalia Portela has stepped down after fulfilling why it employed her.

The business set out proposals in April aimed at improving its balance sheet following another year of losses.

The share capital reduction will be made by reducing the nominal value of Deoleo shares by EUR0.28 per share from EUR0.38 per share.

The Carbonell oil owner said Portela, a former CEO of Spanish telecoms firm ONO, was stepping down "having completed the stage of restructuring for which she was appointed" last September.  

Deoleo said CEO Pierluigi Tosato, who joined the company last year from Italy-based FMCG company The Bolton Group, where he was chief executive of the business' food arm, will now also combine his role with that of chairman.

Tosato said the reduction in share capital marked "the start of a new phase" for Deoleo. Tosato said the company would work "to relaunch the business" and boost the "quality and strength" of its products and brands. 

Shareholders also approved the company's annual accounts for 2016, which booked EBITDA of EUR46.1m, which Deoleo said was a 30% increase over the previous year.

Deoleo made a net loss last year of EUR179m. The company said losses were caused mainly by the board's decision to record an impairment of assets amounting to EUR96.3m "to adjust the balance to the current situation of the company and to settle the future development of the group on a sound basis".

In addition, the company said an "unexpected change in fiscal regulations that occurred in December 2016 had an impact of EUR53.3m".