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Katjes Group, the German confectionery business, has bought Paluani, an Italy-based manufacturer of panettone and pandoro, out of bankruptcy.

The deal, which was finalised this week, was done through Katjes’ Italian subsidiary Sperlari. Katjes acquired Sperlari from fellow European confectioner Cloetta last year.

The company has not revealed the acquisition price but reports in Italy suggest the figure is around EUR8m (US$8.1m), taking into account a base price of EUR7.6m set by the Bankruptcy Court of Verona and the added cost of production facilities.

Stephan Milde, CFO of Katjes International, told Just Food: “Sperlari acquired all operating assets of the business – the production site, machines, IP etc.

“In other words, we are acquiring the going concern of the Paluani operations which continue in a business as usual sense. This includes taking over the majority of the employees, including existing local management in order to ensure aforesaid business continuity.”

Commenting on the business rationale for the deal, Milde said: “Sperlari is market leader in seasonal products and Paluani, as specialist for the Christmas and Easter period with a focus on panettone, pandoro and colomba, will strengthen our market position in the seasonals category.

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“We will continue the Paluani production site in Verona and are looking to use the combined sales and marketing expertise in order to grow the business going forward.”

Italian media outlets said Cremona-based Sperlari was the only bidder for Paluani, which was controlled by the Campedelli family until it became insolvent, impacting the company’s 48 employees.

Its demise was linked to the collapse of Italian football club Chievo, which Paluani owned. Chievo folded last year after getting into financial difficulties following its releagtion from Italy’s top league, Serie A.

In June, Katjes bought UK gluten-free baked goods firm Genius Foods through its venture-capital arm Katjes Greenfood.