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March 30, 2015

Podravka “set to buy Slovenia’s Zito”

Croatia-based food group Podravka is reportedly set to acquire control of Zito, Slovenia's largest food manufacturer, in a deal said to be worth EUR60-65m.

By Dean Best

Croatia-based food group Podravka is reportedly set to acquire control of Zito, Slovenia's largest food manufacturer, in a deal said to be worth EUR60-65m (US$65.1-70.5m).

A report in Slovenian business daily Finance this morning (30 March) claimed a deal for a majority stake in Zito should be completed in the coming days.

A consortium of Zito shareholders – including Slovenia's sovereign fund SDH, pension fund Modra Zavarovalnica and investment firm KD Skladi – are selling a combined stake that amounts to 51.55% of the company. Last month, SDH said "several binding offers" had been made for the shareholding.

Podravka had reportedly been one of the bidders for Zito, which makes products from bakery to confectionery. Zito's brands include its namesake bread, Zlato Polje pasta and Gorenjka chocolate.

Contacted by just-food today, a Podravka spokesperson said: "For the time being there is no relevant price sensitive information that requires public disclosure. If such an information occurs, we will communicate it through official channels."

In January, Podravka gave some indication of its M&A strategy to just-food. Podravka is looking at acquisitions as part of plans to generate two-thirds of its sales from international markets.

The company would not specify in which markets it could make acquisitions but a spokesperson said: "What we can say is that eastern Europe, central Europe and western Europe are the regions that are on the top of our list for M&A targets. We are not saying that we would refuse a good offer from our region – south-east Europe – but our intent is to reduce our exposure regarding sales revenues to the domestic market and our region."

Slovenia is one of the markets grouped in Podravka's south-east Europe division.

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