Italian food giant Parmalat has said it is still negotiating with a group of investors regarding the stake in its Brazilian unit which Parmalat is required to buy for around US$400m.

The financially troubled company is hoping to delay payment, and the group of investors have agreed to continue talks on the issue, reported Reuters, citing sources.

Parmalat confirmed that it had not made a payment on 17 December, when the first part of the payment was due. The remainder is due on 22 December.

Parmalat is required to pay around $400m for an 18.18% stake in Parmalat Empreendimentos e Administracao held by the group of investors if the firm was not floated on the market by the end of 2003, Reuters said.