Earlier this week, Parmalat announced that the Court of Rome had ruled that the city of Rome was “the current and sole owner of 75% of the share capital of Centrale del Latte di Roma.” The court ordered Parmalat to “immediately return” its controlling stake in the company to the city of Rome.
On the back of the court ruling, Parmalat has agreed to defer “the approval of its 2012 financial statement and the proposal of dividend distribution.”
“The Board of Directors, while it believes that the Court’s decision is incorrect and is confident that it will prevail on appeal, which will be filed promptly, agreed to withdraw the draft financial statements at December 31, 2012, in order to determine whether restatements are required.”
Parmalat to pursue compensation
Parmalat acquired its 75% stake in Centrale del Latte di Roma from Eurolat SpA. Eurolat had previously purchased the majority stake in the Rome-based milk group from Cirio SpA, who had acquired it from the city of Rome.
According to reports from Italy, Cirio’s acquisition of the 75% stake was annulled in 2011 after it emerged that it was not permitted to sell any shares of Centrale del Latte di Roma for five years. An investigation was then launched to establish who the shares belonged to, the reports added.
Parmalat has vowed to appeal the decision, and pursue compensation should its appeal be unsuccessful.
“Further to a corresponding request by the Consob, Parmalat announced that the Court of Rome did not include in its decision any provision concerning Parmalat’s right to receive any compensation,” Parmalat said in a statement.
“However, the Court did rule that Parmalat ‘could be entitled to receive as compensation for improvements an amount equal to the expenses incurred for improvements or the resulting increase in value, whichever is lower.”
The other court decision….
The Court of Rome decision comes just weeks after a court in Parma ordered the appointment of a special commissioner to oversee an audit calculating the price for its disputed May 2012 $904m intra-group acquisition of Lactalis American Group (LAG).
The investigation was sparked by concerns that the deal was pushed through by Lactalis – the majority shareholder of both companies – to drain Parmalat’s then €1.5bn cash pile.
According to Parmalat, the $904m paid for LAG could be reduced by up to $144m if the initial purchase price is deemed to be excessive.