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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Bidders eye slimmed-down Parmalat
Parmalat building
Parmalat's fortunes crumbled after a hole was found in its accounts
Speculation is mounting that Parmalat could face a takeover bid as the scandal-hit Italian firm prepares to return to the Milan stock exchange.

Italy's top milk producer Granarolo has confirmed that it is considering making a bid for the dairy firm.

French dairy group Lactalis said it may also be interested in buying Parmalat.

Parmalat was delisted in 2003 after a 14bn euro (9.5bn; $17bn) hole was found in its accounts. Trading in its shares is due to resume on Thursday.

Wait and see

Under its government appointed administrator Enrico Bondi, Parmalat has been cutting jobs and refocusing on its core dairy and fruit juice operations.

Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi
Parmalat's founder Calisto Tanzi is facing fraud and market rigging charges

The slimmed-down company is widely seen as potential takeover target as it emerges from bankruptcy administration.

"We are indeed considering the deal," Granarolo general manager Rossella Saoncella said on Tuesday. "An announcement is not imminent, we are waiting to see how things go."

A spokesman for Lactalis, which owns cheese brands including President, said it was "impossible (to think) that we're not looking at Parmalat, as other groups are doing".

However, Swiss food giant Nestle dismissed rumours that it was buying up bonds in Parmalat following reports that it was considering an offer for the Italian firm.

Tanzi trial

The Italian Stock Exchange in Milan said Parmalat would be listed alongside the market's blue chip stocks, with each of the firm's 1.6bn shares valued at 1 euro (0.68, $1.19).

On Saturday, the firm's creditors received legal approval for a plan to swap 12bn euros of debt into shares, pending the way for the relisting.

On Tuesday, Parmalat revealed that it was suing Credit Suisse First Boston for 7.1bn euros in damages over the Swiss-based bank's alleged role in the Italian group's collapse.

Parmalat has already lodged other claims against Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS, and auditors Grant Thornton.

The trial of Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi and 15 others accused of accounting fraud and market rigging got underway last month, but was soon suspended.





SEE ALSO:
Parmalat sues Credit Suisse bank
04 Oct 05 |  Business
Parmalat set to return to market
03 Oct 05 |  Business
Parmalat: Timeline to turmoil
28 Sep 05 |  Business
Parmalat fraud trial is suspended
28 Sep 05 |  Business


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