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France's Lactalis Agrees to Buy Majority Stake in Ljubljana Dairy

Ljubljana, 29 October (STA) - French company Lactalis has agreed to acquire a majority stake in the Ljubljana-based dairy Ljubljanske mlekarne from five shareholders, stock brokerage firm Ilirika said in press release on Monday.

Ilirika said that Lactalis reached the deal to buy the 50.3% stake in Slovenia's largest dairy with investment firms NFD Holding and KD Group, banks Factor banka and KD Banka and the Sava holding company.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

The announcement of the takeover comes exactly a week after a rival bid by Slovenian cooperatives and the DBS bank ended with the bidders failing to net a majority stake in the dairy.

Mlekodel, a milk trading company which acted on the behalf of the DBS bank and 35 cooperatives in publishing a takeover bid on 19 September, managed to increase its stake in the dairy by 4.44% to 36.41%.

Mlekodel chief supervisor Janko Stojković said last Monday that the cooperatives would continue to strive for ownership control of the dairy and thus for long-term stability of the milk market.

The Mlekodel bid was worth EUR 6.50 per share, which valued the dairy at EUR 28.5m. It is unclear how much Lactalis has offered for the majority stake.

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