The Italian market regulator Consob has approved a plan by the administrators of Parmalat to relist the insolvent food group on the stock market, a spokesman for Consob said today (Friday), according to the Reuters news agency.

"Yesterday evening, Consob gave its OK for the publication of the prospectus," the spokesman said, confirming newspaper reports.

Parmalat's adminstrators intend to swap about €12bn(US$15.06bn)  of debt for shares before the relisting.

The return to the stock market of what was once one of Italy's biggest industrial companies is now likely to happen only after the summer holiday, possibly in September or October, a person familiar with the situation said.

The next step will be the authorisation by a judge in Parma, close to Parmalat's headquarters, to allow creditors to vote on the debt-for-equity swap plan.

As well as swapping debt for new shares, Parmalat is seeking to recover billions of euros from banks and financial institutions which did business with its former management, many of whom now face the prospect of a trial for financial crimes, the agency said.