`Spain Speculates on American Takeover of Deoleo - Olive Oil Times

Spain Speculates on American Takeover of Deoleo

Sep. 30, 2013
Julie Butler

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American agribusi­ness and food giants Cargill and Bunge are rumored to be con­sid­er­ing a takeover of Deoleo, the world’s biggest olive oil distributor.

Spanish finan­cial news­pa­per El Economista sparked the spec­u­la­tion this week with claims Cargill and Bunge had each been eval­u­at­ing a pos­si­ble bid for the Madrid-based company.

Citing insider sources, the paper said for sev­eral weeks the firms had been ana­lyz­ing Deoleo’s accounts and Spain’s olive oil market.”

But in a state­ment to the CNMV, the agency that super­vises the Spanish stock mar­ket, Deoleo said it was not cur­rently in con­tact with any party about the pos­si­bil­ity of them tak­ing a major stake in the company.And Minnesota-based Cargill said its pol­icy was not to com­ment on rumours or spec­u­la­tion. At any one time, Cargill is assess­ing a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to progress its busi­ness strat­egy. It is our pol­icy that we will com­mu­ni­cate as and when there is some­thing defin­i­tive,” it said.

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New York-based Bunge has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Deoleo (for­merly Grupo SOS) mar­kets the brands Bertolli and Carapelli in the United States. Its big sta­ble of brands also includes Carbonell, the world’s most widely sold olive oil.

Various Spanish banks are said to want to shed their stakes in Deoleo. Among them are major share­holder Bankia, which holds over 18 per cent of the com­pany, and Caixabank, with nearly 6 per cent.

Combined with the stock of other Spanish lenders, a total of at least about a third of Deoleo is believed to be up for grabs. This is sig­nif­i­cant because under Spanish law, com­pa­nies must keep their stake in a com­pany to less than 30 per­cent or launch a full takeover bid.

El Economista said Bunge had some months ago stated an inten­tion to expand its cur­rently small pres­ence in the olive oil sec­tor but its sources saw Cargill as the com­pany with most pos­si­bil­i­ties as a poten­tial Deoleo buyer.

It noted Cargill already had links with the Malaga-based Hojiblanca Cooperative Group — the world’s biggest pro­ducer of extra vir­gin olive oil — through their joint own­er­ship of the Mercaóleo olive oil bot­tling plant near Malaga. Hojiblanca itself holds about a 10 per­cent stake in Deoleo.

Deoleo’s September 26 state­ment to the CNMV, the agency over­see­ing the Spanish stock mar­ket: http://www.cnmv.es/Portal/HR/verDoc.axd?t={7f117795-538a-4beb-b0fe-2b59d063d429}

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