Italy PM will ask Spain to treat Italy bidders for Deoleo fairly

VERONA Wed Apr 9, 2014 6:46am EDT

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a a joint news conference with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, central London April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a a joint news conference with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, central London April 1, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

VERONA (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday he planned to ask Spain to treat foreign firms bidding for a stake in top global olive oil bottler Deoleo fairly.

On Tuesday, British private equity fund CVC Capital Partners emerged as the frontrunner in bidding for Deoleo, two banking sources said. Among other bidders was Italy's state-backed Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI), which had made an offer to buy a 30 percent stake in the Spanish group as it seeks to bring home some local brands now under Deoleo.

Deoleo owns the well-known and widely distributed Italian food oil brands Bertolli, Carapelli and Sasso.

"Italian companies sold the oil (brands) to Spain a few years ago. If today the FSI or other Italian companies want to buy them back on the open market, they have the sacrosanct right to do it," Renzi said on the sidelines of the Vinitaly fair in Verona.

"I'll talk with my friend (Spanish Prime Minister Mariano) Rajoy," he added.

(Reporting by Sara Rossi, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Lisa Jucca)

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