Nestle has signed a preliminary agreement for the sale of its Moretta plant in Italy to local company Pastificio Rana.

The factory produces fresh stuffed pasta and sauces with the Buitoni brand. The Buitoni brand remains the property of Nestle.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, covers all the assets of the plant provides for full employment retention for the 190 workers at the site.

Once the deal is closed, Pastificio Rana will distribute and market Buitoni pasta and sauces throughout Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, with the exception of Italy and Spain, where the Buitoni brand will continue to be distributed and marketed directly by Nestle.

Nestle said it will continue to invest in the Buitoni brand.

Leo Wencel, head of Nestle’s business in Italy, said: “We are very satisfied with the agreement reached with Pastificio Rana, a leading producer of food excellence in our country, 

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“The commercial partnership with Rana will allow it to seize growth opportunities abroad, while ensuring development and continuity of employment at the Moretta site.”

Gian Luca Rana, CEO of Pastificio Rana, said: “We are very happy to have seized this opportunity, which allows us to immediately expand our production capacity, increase volumes and provide a timely and effective response to a global market that has seen us grow for over 25 years with average rates above 15%.”