Pasta maker Barilla secures 700 mln euro loan for overseas expansion

viernes 5 de septiembre de 2014 07:45 GYT

MILAN, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Barilla, the world's biggest pasta maker, has secured a 700 million euro ($907.06 million) loan to expand in Latin America and Russia and also for its plants in Italy.

The loan replaces credit lines that were expiring, Barilla said in a statement on Friday. The Parma-based company also said the money would also be used to open offices in Dubai as a base for activities in Middle East and Africa.

A pool of 13 banks - including Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca and foreign lenders such us Citi, BNP Paribas and Commerzbank - are taking part in the five-year loan.

Barilla has cut costs and stepped up marketing efforts during the economic downturn in the Italian market, which accounted for nearly half its sales last year.

Its revenues rose 2.5 percent to 3.2 billion euros ($4.37 billion) in 2013 on a like-for-like basis. The company aims to nearly double revenues to 6 billion euros by 2020.

Chief Executive Claudio Colzani has said the company wants to grow in Latin America and in Asia.

Barilla had a 347 million euro debt at the end of 2013, down from 574 million euros a year before. Its net profit rose 45 percent to 109 million euros last year.

The company, founded in 1877, has an expansion strategy based on pasta and sauces, and bakery products such as biscuits, bread and snacks in Europe.

Sales volumes in Brazil more than doubled in the first eight months of this year. (1 US dollar = 0.7717 euro) (Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman)