Doughty Hanson backs Parmalat acquisition

The private equity firm has invested in Parmalat’s purchase of Galbani, the groceries business sold by Danone, which wants to focus on core business.

Doughty Hanson, the London-based private equity firm, is backing the sale in Italy of Galbani, the groceries business, to Parmalat, the dairy and foods group.

Parmalat has said that its investment in the purchase of Galbani from Danone, the French dairy company, is less than E100m, living its financial partner to take the majority stake in the Milan-based business.

The sale, which is believed to be well below the E1.5bn estimation cited in the media, enables Danone to focus on its core businesses of fresh dairy products, bottled water and biscuits. The group has already sold Panzalim, its pasta sauce business to PAI and a majority stake in BSN Embellage to CVC Capital Partners.

Doughty Hanson has a total $4.5bn under management and closed its most recent fund at $2.7bn. Last year it paid £1.1bn for Ranks Hovis McDougall, the baker, from Tomkins, in one of the largest LBO deals of 2000.