An Italian court has ordered Parmalat to return its controlling stake in milk group Centrale del Latte di Roma to the city of Rome, a move that has forced the Italian dairy giant to pull its 2012 accounts.

Concluding an ownership lawsuit that contested Parmalat’s 1998 acquisition of the state-owned milk producer, the Court of Rome ordered Parmalat to “immediately return” its stake in Centrale del Latte di Roma to the Roma Capitale.

“Roma Capitale (formerly Rome Municipal Administration) is the current and sole owner of 75% of the share capital of Centrale del Latte di Roma,” the court ruled.

In a board meeting yesterday (22 April), Parmalat determined that it would appeal the decision. The board said it is “confident” that it will prevail in an appeal that it plans to file “promptly”.

Nevertheless, the board agreed to withdraw its draft financial statement for the year to end-December 2012. During the 12 month period, the asset in question was carried at EUR95.1m, the company said.