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March 21, 2011

ITALY: Ferrero coy on talk of Parmalat investment

Ferrero has remained coy on reports that it may be considering investing in Italian dairy Parmalat as part of a push to keep the company in Italian hands.

Ferrero has remained coy on reports that it may be considering investing in Italian dairy Parmalat as part of a push to keep the company in Italian hands.

A spokesperson for the confectioner told just-food today (21 March) that it is “looking with interest and sympathy at an industrial Italian solution.”

The rumours follow French dairy giant Lactalis taking 11.42% stake in Parmalat through an equity-swap deal last week.

While Lactalis said it would “consider” increasing its stake in Parmalat further, it does not intend to trigger the 30% threshold that would trigger the launch of a “mandatory offer” under Italian law.

In the wake of Lacatlis’s investment in Parmalat, Italian economy minister Giulio Tremonti presented the cabinet with the outlines of a possible legal measure to protect Italian companies from foreign buyers.

According to Reuters, industry minister Paolo Romani said the Italian government hoped to win support from other domestic companies. “I hope that there is an effort on the part of national companies and banks that Parmalat remains Italian,” he said.

A group of Parmalat shareholders, including international funds Skagen AS, Mackenzie and Zenit Asset Management, were rumoured to be looking to sell their shares in the manufacturer. However they are planning to nominate a slate of 11 new candidates to Parmalat’s board of directors.

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