Italian dairy group Parmalat will postpone its AGM for two months as Italian investors look to form a consortium to prevent France’s Lactalis from taking control of the firm’s board.

Lactalis, which recently took a 29% stake in Parmalat, has proposed a slate of directors for nomination to the company’s board. If these nominations were to go ahead, the French dairy company would gain majority control of Parmalat’s board.

However, this prospect has provoked controversy in Italy and the Italian government recently introduced a new law that would allow Parmalat to delay its AGM.

Parmalat announced late on Friday (1 April) that it will postpone its annual shareholder meeting from the end of April to 25 June. Reports have suggested that the move aims to allow Parmalat’s Italian shareholders to from a strategic alliance that will keep the company under Italian control. The company declined to comment further when contacted by just-food.

According to reports, this effort is being spearheaded by Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, which holds a 2.4% stake in Parmalat. When contacted by just-food, the bank did confirm that it is “in communication” with other Italian shareholders. However, Intesa Sanpaolo declined to comment on the details of these talks or what it hopes to achieve.

Lactalis has likewise remained reticent on the development, simply reiterating that it is “open to talks” with fellow Parmalat shareholders.