French dairy group Lactalis has acquired an 11.42% stake in Italy-based rival Parmalat through an equity-swap deal.

The French dairy now owns a 7.28% direct stake in Parmalat and has entered into an equity-swap agreement for a potential additional stake of up to 7%. Currently, under the equity swap agreement, Lactalis has taken 4.14% equity.

Lactalis said yesterday (17 March) that it plans to develop a project that would allow the two groups to offer a full range of dairy products, adding that they both have “leading positions in complementary product categories and geographical areas”.

It added that its’ global presence could be “instrumental” for Parmalat’s expansion, which may include new markets.

Lactalis said that it would “consider” increasing its stake in Parmalat further, but “does not intend to reach a stake which would trigger the launch of a mandatory tender offer under Italian law”.

Lactalis will present a series of candidates for Parmalat’s board of directors ahead of its AGM on 12 April.

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By GlobalData

Shares in Parmalat were up 3.44% at EUR2.58 a share at 12:21 CET today.