La Doria has confirmed the Italy-based canned tomatoes and sauces maker is in negotiations to sell a majority stake to private-equity firm Investindustrial Investment Holdings.

The branded and private-label supplier, owned by the Ferraioli family, said in a statement today (27 September) talks are underway between its shareholders and Luxembourg-headquartered Investindustrial. Discussions centre on a 63% interest in La Doria for EUR16.50 (US$19.29) per share.

The proposed deal is subject to approval from Italy’s competition regulator and review under Golden Power, Italian law that regulates foreign investment in the country.

If successful, La Doria’s current shareholders will retain a management interest in the company, which is based in Angri in Salerno province.

Investindustrial, which as well as Luxembourg has offices in the UK, the US, Spain and China, has been given an “exclusivity period” to sign up to an agreement by 20 October. Due diligence by the investor is currently in process, La Doria said.

La Doria’s president, CEO and shareholder Antonio Ferraioli said: “I trust that the agreements with Investindustrial can close within the period of exclusivity. The operation would guarantee a great opportunity for the company and its employees with a new phase entirely marked by further growth.

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“The Ferraioli family believes firmly in the group’s potential and will continue to be actively involved in management of the company.”

Investindustrial declined to comment on proceedings when contacted by Just Food. The private-equity firm’s portfolio includes Natra, the Spain-based chocolate maker it acquired in 2019. Last year, Investindustrial also bought bakery-ingredients business CSM Ingredients.

Founded in 1954, La Doria posted revenues in 2020 of EUR848m and EBIT of EUR64.8m. It generated net profits for the year of EUR56.7m. Listed on the Star segment of the Italian stock exchange, the company confirmed in its statement today 97% of its revenues come from private-label retail clients in Italy and overseas.

The company produces branded products under its own name and also Cook Italia, La Romanella, Althea and Bella Parma. It operates six factories located in Angri, Faenza, Fisciano, Sink, Parma and Sarno.