Inari owner Cremonini Group sold a 28.4% stake in the firm to IQ Made In Italy, a joint venture split equally between Qatar Holding and Italian investment firm Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI). IQ Made In Italy paid US$144m as a cash injection to Inalca, and bought a further US$62 in Inalca shares in exchange for the stake.
The deal also allows for future investments by FSI Investmenti, a joint venture between FSI and the Kuwait Investment Authority.
“This is the first investment realised by the [joint venture] between FSI and Qatar Holding. The Italian food sector has several excellent companies which growth can be boosted thanks to the support of long- term risk capital investors. Inalca’s investment also supports Made in Italy food distribution outside Italy, which has a huge potential,” said Maurizio Tamagnini, CEO of FSI.
Vincenzo Cremonini, CEO of Cremonini, said: “FSI and [Qatar Holding owner] Qatar Investment Authority are highly qualified risk capital investors with a long-term investment horizon. This led us to positively consider their entry in Inalca’s capital and to share with them our strategic vision and development plans. The investment through a capital increase allows us to accelerate growth plans in Italy and abroad.”
Italian media reported Cremonini as saying the investment meant Inalca would be able to reach its targets significantly faster than planned, and also would allow it to bring forward a number of plans in its pipeline. Cremonini also said he was keen to partner with FSI thanks to its access to international sovereign wealth funds.
GCC distribution deal
Earlier this year, Inalca signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Advanced Investment Group to develop a platform to distribute Italian products, including Inalca’s, throughout the GCC. The distribution platform will operate from an Abu Dhabi free trade zone, and is being developed on models Inalca has already established for distribution in Russia and Africa.
Inalca acquired a key part of its international distribution operation in 2000, when it bought a 51% stake in Italian trading company Frimo. Following this acquisition, Inalca used Frimo’s network of offices, including operations in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, to expand its global reach.
Last year Inalca reported revenues of US$1.9bn, and net profit of US$25.7m. The company employs around 2,700 people, including 1,000 outside Italy.