April 25, 2014 / 5:17 PM / in 4 years

Spain's Dcoop says negotiating exit from Deoleo

MADRID, April 25 (Reuters) - Spanish olive cooperative Dcoop is in talks to sell its 9.65 percent stake in global olive oil leader Deoleo to private equity firm CVC, which is in the process of taking over Deoleo, a spokesman said on Friday.

The timing or terms of the sale have not been agreed, said the spokesman, who asked not to be named.

British-based CVC has reached an agreement to buy 21 percent of Deoleo from Bankia and Banco Mare Nostrum, and plans to reach 30 percent ownership through a capital hike, followed by a buyout offer for the whole company.

Deoleo sells one fifth of the world’s bottled olive oil and owns three of the top four brands, Spain’s Carbonell and Italy’s Bertolli and Carapelli.

Three banks with stakes in Deoleo, Unicaja, Caixabank and Kutxabank, have decided to maintain their investments in the company.

The takeover of Deoleo has taken on political dimensions in Spain, the world’s leading olive oil producer, after the government showed concern that a state fund from rival olive producer Italy might end up controlling the company.

Government ministers have said the state has not ruled out taking a stake in Deoleo to keep a measure of influence in the country.

Spanish media reported this week that the State Society of Industrial Participations (known by its Spanish-language acronym SEPI) was going to buy the Dcoop stake in Deoleo, but the Dcoop spokesman said that the government has not made it any offer.

“What I want to make clear is that SEPI has not been in touch with us,” the spokesman said. (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Julien Toyer)

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