Parmalat stake could go to Italian bank: sources

27th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A state-controlled Italian bank could take a stake in Parmalat, sources said Wednesday after France's Lactalis launched a contested takeover of the Italian firm to form the world's biggest dairy firm.

Parmalat's continued listing on the Milan stock exchange "could be guaranteed by the presence of an Italian partner," Franco Bassanini, head of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti bank, said in an interview with Il Foglio.

Lactalis already holds nearly 29 percent in Parmalat and on Tuesday it offered to buy the remaining stake for 3.4 billion euros (5.0 billion dollars).

The takeover has stirred nationalist emotions in Italy and fears that Lactalis could acquire a monopoly position on the Italian market.

A source close to the issue said a counter-offer by a consortium of Italian companies was unlikely but "there is currently a theory of a stake being taken by the Cassa dei Depositi to take into account Italian interests."

The figure being talked about is a 10-percent stake in Parmalat.

"It is possible that Lactalis will sell a part to the Cassa" following the takeover, a second source said.

"But for the moment there is no negotiation," the second source said.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday said: "We hope Italian businesses can put forward proposals so that the takeover is perhaps not completed and there is instead an agreement on Italian participation."

© 2011 AFP

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