May 13, 2019 / 3:48 PM / 2 months ago

Italian food group Newlat on track for IPO to fund acquisitions

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian food group Newlat is gearing up to list on the Milan bourse later this year in a move aimed at raising around 200 million euros ($225 million) for acquisitions, Newlat’s chairman said on Monday.

The group, which already owns a diversified portfolio of businesses including dairy brand Polenghi Lombardo and pasta label Birkel, has set its sight on several targets in Italy and outside, chairman and owner Angelo Mastrolia said.

To beef up its war chest, Mastrolia, who owns the group through a holding company based in Lugano, is ready to loosen his grip, he said.

“We plan to sell only new shares in the IPO,” Mastrolia told Reuters in a phone interview.

He said the company was aiming for a market capitalization of around 450-500 million euros.

“Under our plans, the listing will take place in autumn and the free float will be around 46 percent”, he said.

Italy’s food and beverage industry is a key driver for economic growth but represents just 2 percent of the overall capitalization of the Milan stock exchange.

Newlat has picked Equita, Societe Generale and HSBC as global coordinators for its IPO, Mastrolia said.

In 2018 the company, with net cash of 20 million euros, posted revenues of around 330 million euros and core earnings 22 million euros, Mastrolia said.

The company, based in Italy’s northern town of Reggio Emilia, has made a string of acquisitions in recent years, buying plants and brands from large multinational groups.

Newlat bought Polenghi Lombardo from Italian dairy group Parmalat in 2009 and one of the plants of baby food brand Plasmon from Kraft Heinz in 2015.

Last month it snapped up Delverde pasta brand from Argentina’s Molinos Rio de la Plata.

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Mark Potter

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