May 16, 2017 / 12:43 PM / 10 months ago

Coffee maker Lavazza counting on acquisitions to help boost sales

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian coffee maker Lavazza is looking at possible acquisitions to increase its turnover to 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) over the next four years, CEO Antonio Baravalle said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Lavazza's espresso coffee cup installation is seen at the headquater in Turin, Italy, February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

Sales at the family-owned company rose 29 percent to 1.9 billion euros last year thanks to the acquisition of French coffee brand Carte Noire and Denmark’s Merrild.

The group also increased the foreign portion of its sales last year to 60 percent from 53 percent in 2015, cutting its dependence on the Italian market where coffee consumption fell for the third consecutive year in 2016.

“We have a target of increasing annual sales to 2.2 billion euros by 2020 both through organic growth and potential acquisitions,” Baravalle told Reuters.

“In terms of markets we are interested in the United States, Canada, Germany and Britain,” he said, adding that fast-growing organic and fair-trade coffee businesses were the most attractive segments for acquisitions.

Baravalle said the family-owned group could put together more than 1.5 billion euros for acquisitions, including cash already in the company’s coffers.

“There is no plan to list the group for now since the company has a net financial position of nearly 700 million euros it can devote to potential M&A,” he said.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Mark Heinrich

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