MILAN, March 11 (Reuters) - Activist funds aiming to overhaul the board of Italian dairy group Parmalat (PLT.MI) in a bid to boost growth named a slate of nine directors on Friday.
Investment funds Mackenzie Financial Corp, part of Canada’s IGM Financial (IGM.TO); Norway’s Skagen AS; and Zenit Asset Management AB want to revamp the 11-member board when shareholders of Parmalat, one of Italy’s leading food companies, meet on April 12.
The funds hold a combined 15.2 percent of Parmalat and have said they want to boost growth and shareholder value. [ID:nLDE70P1IS]
The three funds have nominated Rainer Masera, 66, the head of the economics department at Rome’s Guglielmo Marconi University, to be chairman, they said in an e-mailed statement.
The funds nominated Massimo Rossi, 68, a former chief executive of Swedish Match (SWMA.ST), to be deputy chairman. He also would serve as interim chief executive until a replacement for current CEO Enrico Bondi was found, the statement said.
The funds have pushed Bondi, the architect of Parmalat’s rebirth after its high-profile collapse in 2003, to grow the dairy group through acquisitions.
On March 2, the funds denied a newspaper report that they were talking to French dairy group Lactelis or any other party about a sale of their stake. [ID:nLDE7210RU]
Two Brazilian newspapers reported on Thursday that Parmalat was holding merger talks with food group Lacteos Brasil in a deal valued at up to $3.4 billion.
Lacteos Brasil is majority owned by Laep Investments MILK11.SA and GP Investments GPIV11.SA, the biggest Latin American private-equity firm. [ID:nN1097527]
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bernard Orr