Italy-based dairy major Granarolo has raised capital of €160m ($173.6m) through the sale of a stake in the business.

Some €100m of that was invested by Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) through the €40bn Patrimonio Rilancio national strategic fund financed by the country’s Treasury. The fund was originally intended to help businesses impacted by the Covid pandemic. It has acquired a stake of around 15% in the milk and cheese producer.

Agricultural worker pension agency Enpaia and controlling shareholder Granlatte, a farmer’s cooperative, put in €30m each.

Hinting at future M&A activity, Granarolo, which also produces pasta and deli meats, said the moves were necessary for the implementation of its 2023-2026 strategic plan, which includes both “important organic growth objectives and extraordinary transactions aimed at strengthening the group’s competitive positioning in Italy and abroad”.

Chairman Gianpiero Calzolari said: “The objectives that the company intends to achieve through the implementation of the new plan are to consolidate and increase its presence on the national market through digital transformation and innovation of the product supply chain, strengthen its international positioning [and] innovate to anticipate new product solutions in a constantly evolving market.”

Enpaia president Giorgio Piazza and general manager Roberto Diacetti said in a joint statement: “The investment in Granarolo has a double value for Enpaia, since it is strategic and mission-related at the same time. Strategic for its growth potential in a sector, the agri-food sector, of significant importance and continuous success for the economy of our country; mission-related because it is believed that it can have a positive impact on the dairy sector that will favour the development of local economies through greater employment, activating a multiplier effect in the areas of intervention on those who contribute to the revenues of the pension fund.”

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By GlobalData

Granarolo has 23 production sites located in its domestic market, France, Brazil, New Zealand, the UK, Germany and the US.

Its most recent significant M&A activity was to take a 60% controlling stake of local mozzarella maker Industria Latticini G.Cuomo last July for an undisclosed sum.