UPDATE 1-Spain could take stake in olive oil firm Deoleo

Mon Apr 7, 2014 11:55am EDT

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MADRID, April 7 (Reuters) - The Spanish government is interested in buying into olive oil producer Deoleo, the world's top olive oil bottler which has attracted interest from foreign funds, Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro said on Monday.

Several Spanish banks are selling a 31 percent stake in the firm, owner of brands such as Carbonell, and a number of foreign funds are already vying to take over the company, a source close to the deal said last week.

Spain is the world's biggest olive oil producer. Its olive oil exports are surging and the industry is seen as a growth area especially for the south of the country, which is plagued by high unemployment.

Montoro, speaking at a conference in Madrid, said the investment would be "a minority stake in the same terms as the government did in other important companies in the food and farming sector."

Spanish daily El Mundo reported on Monday that Spanish state holding company SEPI had told the Agriculture Ministry it could inject capital into the olive oil giant along with other Spanish companies such as olive oil group DCoop and Spanish bank Unicaja.

Such a joint investment would allow the government and its partners to remain below the 30 percent threshold from which an investor must launch a full bid for a company. (Reporting By Paul Day; Writing by Sarah Morris; Editing by Julien Toyer and Mark Potter)

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