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MILAN, March 9 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
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
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
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)