MILAN May 27 Italy's Barilla, the
world's biggest pasta maker, is looking for opportunities to
expand in Latin America and Asia and could announce a deal in a
few months, its chairman said on Tuesday.
"We are looking for partners similar to us... we are open to
joint ventures as well as acquisitions," Guido Barilla, chairman
of the family-owned group, said on the sidelines of a
presentation of the company's 2013 results.
"There could be an announcement in the coming months... we
are reviewing different options."
The Parma-based company has weathered a two-year recession
in its home country, cutting costs and launching marketing
Due to this strategy and investments in Brazil and Russia,
Barilla's revenues rose 2.5 percent in 2013 to 3.2 billion euros
($4.37 billion) on a like-for-like basis.
However, the slow economic recovery in Italy - which
accounted for nearly half of Barilla's sales last year - could
hinder the company's goal of nearly doubling revenues to 6
billion euros by 2020.
"We want to grow aggressively in Latin America and in Asia,
where we will focus on pasta and (ready-made) sauces," Chief
Executive Claudio Colzani said.
Barilla had enough financial resources for a deal, Colzani
He said the company would not rush into a deal and was
hoping to find a partner that shared its principle of producing
high-quality food with limited environmental impact.
"We don't need to list, nor to use creative financial tools
to find money to expand," said Colzani.
Barilla had a 347 million euro debt at the end of 2013, down
from 574 million euros a year before. Its net profit rose 45
percent to 109 million euros last year.
The company, founded in 1877, has an expansion strategy
based on pasta and sauces for distant markets, and bakery
products such as biscuits, bread and snacks in Europe.
In September it plans to launch a pasta that can be cooked
in a wok to win market share in Asia.
($1 = 0.7325 Euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Elisa Anzolin; editing by