Newlat is working on possible acquisitions, the chairman of the Italy-based food group has said.

Earlier this year, Newlat’s move to strike a deal for Princes faltered after the UK-based company’s owners rejected the dairy-to-pasta manufacturer’s overtures.

In a statement alongside the publication of Newlat’s 2023 financial results, chairman Angelo Mastrolia said the company remained interested in adding to its assets.

“2023 saw us engaged in a great deal of work in the attempt to acquire Princes, an English group with a turnover of around €2bn ($2.18bn). Although the deal presented interesting strategic potential, Newlat believed that the current market context in the UK required greater prudence, also by virtue of the reverse merger characteristic of the operation,” Mastrolia said. “Nonetheless, external growth will continue to be a strategic element of primary importance for our group.

“Thanks to the ample cash availability and the financial support of a group of large international banks, the group will be able to operate on the M&A market with extreme financial flexibility. We are currently engaged in four important dossiers, all strategically relevant for our group, and of which we hope to be able to share the details soon.”

Last month, Newlat said it had halted negotiations over food-and-drinks supplier Princes after seeing its latest offer rejected.

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In December, Newlat, which already owns UK food manufacturer Symington’s, confirmed it was involved in the race to buy Princes from Japan-based conglomerate Mitsubishi Corp, saying it was at a “very advanced stage”.

However, Newlat said last month it had submitted a new bid for Princes which accounted for softening demand and lower inflation in the UK’s “difficult market environment”. Mitsubishi Corp. rejected the new proposal.

In 2023, Newlat generated revenue of €793.3m, up 7% on a year earlier. EBIT stood at €31.3m, versus €20.1m in 2022. Net income more than doubled to €15.5m.

In the first two months of 2024, Newlat said it saw its revenue grow 7.1% year on year to €135.7m. It reported a 7.8% increase in EBITDA to €12.9m.