ITALY: Campari pondering capital increase for acquisitions (report)
Italian wines and spirits group Campari is considering a capital increase to fund a major acquisition, and feels the privatisation of V&S Group could provide it with possible acquisition targets, according to a report from the AFX news agency.
The report stated that Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz had confirmed a recent comment by an analyst suggesting the company may carry out the capital increase, but he added that nothing is planned at present.
In an interview with Thomson Financial News, Kunze-Concewitz stated that Campari had some EUR600m (US$943m) available to fund acquisitions before putting at risk its investment grade credit rating. He said that acquisitions represented "the second pillar" for company's growth strategy, alongside organic development.
Kunze-Concewitz said he expected 2008 to be "a special year", with further consolidation in the industry likely following the sale of Swedish spirits company V&S Group.
He said the company was hoping to pick up brands or distribution contracts in the wake of the sale of the producer of Absolut vodka. "It is too early to say what will happen but historically we have benefited from these type of situations," Kunze-Concewitz said.
While Kunze-Concewitz said that the capital increase was a possibility, he added that he felt the company at this stage "has quite good ammunition with the cash".
However, Kunze-Concewitz declined to comment on speculation that Campari may consider taking a stake in the Maxxium distribution operation, owned jointly by Vin & Sprit, Edrington, Fortune Brands and Remy Cointreau.
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