Italian food group Newlat has told analysts that it is in acquisition talks but it has not identified the target company, which is believed to be based in Greece.

The dairy-to-pasta business, which owns brands such as Buitoni, Polenghi and Giglio, was speaking to analysts after releasing its Q1, 2020 financial results.

Asked about rumours of a potential acquisition in Greece, the company said: “We are looking for a target to increase our presence in health and wellness.”

It added: “We are in talks with a target but we are also considering other targets.

“Our focus on M&A remains very strong. We are working hard to create value with these acquisitions for our shareholders.”

Those comments underline what company chairman Angelo Mastrolia told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera recently.

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By GlobalData

Asked about Reggio Emilia-based Newlat’s ambitions, he said: “We want to become multi-national but we will keep strong Italian roots.”

In October, shortly after the closing of its initial public share offering, Newlat told just-food it would be eyeing up one or two acquisitions over the next six to eight months as it sought to double the size of the business in terms of revenues.

Andrea Rossi, Newlat’s head of business development, said that the company had five M&A targets in mind in categories such as dried and fresh pasta, bakery and dairy.

In March, it acquired a controlling stake in Italian dairy business Centrale Latte d’Italia.

In the three months to the end of March, Newlat recorded sales of EUR80.3m (US$86.9m), an increase of 12.4% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA was up by 26.2% to EUR6.9m.