March 23, 2018 / 3:53 PM / a month ago

Dairy group Parmalat looks to M&A to expand international business

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian dairy group Parmalat (PLT.MI) is ready to grab new M&A opportunities around the world to strengthen its presence in overseas markets where it already operates, Chief Executive Jean-Marc Bernier said on Friday.

The company was relaunched in 2005 after going bankrupt following a financial scandal two years earlier.

It was taken over by France’s Lactalis in 2011 and, under the French leadership, has expanded its activities to operate directly in 23 countries.

“We look at the United States, but also at Latin America and all the countries were we are already present,” Bernier said when asked about new acquisitions during a business conference on dairy sector in Italy.

The group is seeking to reach “critical mass” in the countries where it operates, Bernier said. He said Parmalat wanted to focus on higher-margin products including yogurt, cheese and special milks to foster growth and reverse a fall in core earnings.

Parmalat last week reported annual results, including a 3.2 percent rise in sales to 6.7 billion euros ($8.3 billion) and a 1.1 percent fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to 453.6 million euros.

    Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman

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