Fiorucci, Italy’s market leader in cold cuts and salami (with 8% market share), has halted merger talks with Malgara of the Chiari & Forte group, but has not abandoned its interest in creating a major player in the fragmented sector.

“Combining our products with Malgara brand names such as Fini and Negroni would have been ideal,” Nicoletta Fiorucci told Italian media, but she added that the two companies differed in marketing and investment strategies.

Fiorucci stressed that the family-run company is still interested in a merger, but will not consider a deal with investment groups. Instead, it is seeking partners from the 11,000bn lire-a-year processed meat sector, in which 2,000 firms such as Beretta, Citterio or Levoni compete.

By Hilmi Toros, correspondent