November 14, 2018 / 5:14 PM / a month ago

Barilla to buy second-largest Italian pasta plant to boost output

Penne rigata pasta of Italian food company Barilla is offered at a supermarket of Swiss retail group Coop in Zumikon, Switzerland December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

MILAN (Reuters) - Food group Barilla said on Wednesday it had presented an offer to buy the second-largest pasta plant in Italy from domestic rival Pasta Zara to boost its production capacity.

Family-owned Pasta Zara has started court proceedings to get creditor protection after its debt spiralled out of control. The factory, which is located near Tieste, in northern Italy, can produce up to 280,000 tonnes of pasta a year, according to one source close to the matter.

“The factory ... has a high capacity and productivity, is well located to serve European and overseas markets and would allow Barilla to respond in an efficient way to a rising global demand for pasta,” Barilla said in a statement.

Barilla’s main plant in Italy is located in Parma and has a production capacity of around 350,000 tonnes of pasta.

The group also makes pasta sauces, bread and biscuits with total sales of around 3.5 billion euros (3 billion pounds) last year.

In a separate statement Pasta Zara said Barilla’s offer was the best solution for the group, its employees and creditors.

In addition to Barilla, two foreign investors had presented offers to buy the factory, the source said.

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Valentina Za;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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