Italian pasta giant Barilla has said the response to its recent takeover bid for German baker Kamps had been better than expected and it would pursue more acquisitions, above all in the United States, according to a report by Reuters.
"We are extremely satisfied and we are over expectations," Guido Barilla, chairman of the family-owned company, told Reuters in an interview. "We think we will reach the 50 plus one (per cent) point sooner than the end of the offer period."
The €1.8 billion deal, agreed in April, will allow Barilla to dominate the European bakery market in addition to its number one position in pasta. It will create a group with combined sales of some €4 billion, but Barilla made clear he would not stop there.
"We will still be looking to develop the business in the pasta area and also in the bakery area. We achieved (US) market leadership in pasta in a very short period of time, and we want to pursue the development in the United States."
He again ruled out taking the company public, saying it had sufficient financial firepower.
Guido Barilla said cost savings from the takeover of Kamps, which will remain a separate entity under existing management, would come largely from the combined purchasing of raw materials such as flour and wheat and would be worth some tens of millions of euros.
"Barilla is the world's biggest buyer of durum wheat semolina and is extremely important in the flour business, while Kamps is huge in the flour business. Together they will be extremely powerful."
He said Barilla had not yet decided whether to delist Kamps, or buy back its bonds but was still prepared to buy 100 per cent of the company.
Barilla's strength in the Mediterranean region and Nordic countries complements Kamps's position in central Europe, and the Italian firm expects both to enjoy cross-selling benefits.
The European Commission has extended its preliminary review of the takeover from one month to six weeks as it seeks further information about the German crisp-bread business. The review should now be completed on 25 June.
Guido Barilla said he did not expect the EU to extend the approval process further and said the crisp-bread business made up a tiny part of the deal.
"There is no economic impact on the deal," he said. "If we do have to dispose of something we are ready to do it, but we do need to discuss what and how and when." He said Barilla's German Wasa crisp-bread brand had sales of some €35 million.