Sun Capital Partners has acquired a 9% stake in American Italian Pasta Co, but neither the investment group or struggling pasta manufacturer would comment on the deal.

According to a regulatory filing, Sun Capital has acquired 1.65m shares in American Italian Pasta.

The investment group specialises in investing in underperforming companies. In Q1 of 2006, Sun Capital acquired eight companies, including CanGro Foods from Kraft and Sara Lee's European clothing business.

The move come at a difficult time for the pasta producer, who employed Alvarex & Marsal Holdings to help turn the company's fortunes arround in December, following an internal audit an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In February the company announced plans to sell the Eddie's and Mrs. Leeper's pasta brands. It closed of a plant in Wisconsin and took a US$25m to $29  impairment charge in the second quarter.

In March, the company secured a $2895m five-year senior credit facility, sidestepping bankruptcy in the process