Panzani owner Ebro has recently sold pasta assets in North America

Panzani owner Ebro has recently sold pasta assets in North America

Ebro Foods' France-based pasta business in Panzani is reportedly on the radar of local peer Lustucru, which is considering teaming up with private-equity firm CVC to bid for the assets.

French newspaper Les Echos said the two suitors could launch a move for Panzani in the coming weeks.

just-food has contacted CVC for comment.

Ebro refused to be drawn on the report and said it had not put Panzani on the block. "This issue has been on the market from the divestment of our North American dry-pasta businesses. Ebro has not put Panzani up for sale and we will not comment on rumours," a spokesperson said when asked if the company would be willing to sell the business.

In November, Ebro announced a deal to sell a clutch of pasta brands in the US - Prince, Creamette and Skinner - to local manufacturer TreeHouse Foods. A week earlier, Ebro said it agreed to offload its Catelli dried pasta business in Canada to Italian counterpart Barilla.

Last month, Ebro said it was considering offloading another pasta brand, Ronzoni, which the company claimed had "seen a great deal of interest from potential buyers".

In 2020, Ebro's group net sales rose 15.1% to EUR3.24bn (US$3.82bn), with the company pointing to "the strong performance of our businesses during the [Covid-19] pandemic".

Ebro's net profit was up 35.7% at EUR192.4m, in part helped by proceeds from the sale of assets in North America.

Sales from the group's continuing pasta business increased 14.5% to EUR1.5bn in 2020. Rice sales were up 16.1% at EUR1.82bn.