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UPDATE 1-Lactalis ups Parmalat bid price after pressure from investors
March 9, 2017 / 10:30 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Lactalis ups Parmalat bid price after pressure from investors

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MILAN, March 9 (Reuters) - French dairy group Lactalis has raised the price of an offer for shares in Parmalat it does not already own to 3 euros per share after complaints from some investors that its previous bid undervalued the Italian dairy group.

Parmalat was relaunched in 2005 after going bankrupt following a financial scandal and Lactalis won control of it in 2011. The French company is now seeking to buy the 12.26 percent of Parmalat it does not already own with the aim of delisting the group.

Lactalis’ investment vehicle Sofil, which had previously offered 2.8 euros for each Parmalat share, said on Thursday its revised offer would be extended until March 21 from an original March 10 deadline.

Parmalat shares rose 5.6 percent by 0920 GMT to 3.030 euros each.

Parmalat activist investor Amber Capital, which owns 3 percent of the dairy company, said last week the price for the takeover should be increased to at least 3.50 euros per share.

Retail shareholders in the Azione Parmalat association had also raised doubts about the price of the bid.

Parmalat, which collapsed in 2003 with a 14 billion euro hole in its accounts, was restructured by turnaround expert Enrico Bondi. Funds clawed back through a number of lawsuits helped the company to build up a large cash reserve.

Parmalat is still awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit with Citigroup and Amber has argued that Lactalis would deprive minority shareholders of potential benefits from the result of this case by taking full control of the Italian group.

“Despite the pending claim with Citigroup, the offer price is now in line with our target price ... we suggest to accept the offer,” Daniele Ridolfi, analyst at broker Kepler Cheuvreux, said in a note for clients.

The response from investors to Lactalis’ bid has been cool so far. They have tendered only 0.26 percent of the group’s capital which increases Lactalis’ stake to 88 percent.

The French group, a private company controlled by the Besnier family, needs to reach a threshold of 90 percent of the total capital to delist the dairy group. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi and Francesca Landini, editing by Valentina Za and Jane Merriman)

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