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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Parmalat to face US group lawsuit
Parmalat logo
Parmalat was reconstructed in 2005
Italian dairy firm Parmalat can be sued by shareholders in a lawsuit concerning the collapse of its predecessor, a US judge has ruled.

Parmalat Finanziaria fell in 2003 under 14 billion euros ($18.6bn; 9.4bn) of debt, in one of Europe's biggest ever corporate bankruptcy cases.

The judge rejected a request by "new Parmalat" to dismiss a group lawsuit by shareholders seeking compensation.

Parmalat officials said on Monday they planned to appeal against the ruling.

US district judge Lewis A Kaplan declined to dismiss Parmalat, which he referred to as "new Parmalat" from a shareholder complaint that is seeking class-action status.

He said the re-incarnated Parmalat had assumed "all debts" belonging to its predecessor.

The judge added that under Italian law, the new Parmalat inherited the liabilities of the previous entity, Parmalat Finanziaria.

Officials of the reorganised dairy firm had argued that any fraud had been committed by the previous company and they did not assume liability for the pre-insolvency behaviour of the company.

They also said the ruling was not consistent with the opinions of other Italian courts.

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