Made in Spain: A pressing issue

Man pouring fruit out of a basket
These are Spanish, not Italian

THE French government once scuttled a possible foreign bid for Danone, a big dairy firm, on the ground that it was a national industrial “jewel”. If yogurt is strategic for the French, olive oil has the same exalted status in Spain. Four savings banks wanted to sell their combined 31% stake in Deoleo, the country’s largest producer, and under Spain’s stockmarket rules anyone buying such a large stake has to bid for the whole company. Earlier this month, when it emerged that all the bidders were foreign, ministers said they would prefer that it remained in Spanish hands, and raised the possibility of the state taking a stake in the firm.On April 10th a British private-equity firm, CVC Capital, won the backing of Deoleo’s board after making the highest offer, valuing it at €439m ($607m). But given the controversy over selling to foreigners, two of the four would-be sellers now look like keeping their stakes. CVC will end up owning 30% of Deoleo but will later seek to buy the rest.Olive oil accounts for a mere 0.8% of Spain’s exports. Yet it is an extra-sensitive matter….

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/business/21600996-government-frets-about-foreign-hands-nations-olive-presses-pressing-issue?fsrc=rss|bus

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