20 de noviembre de 2014 / 16:48 / en 3 años

Italy's Zanetti eyes listing in spring to take on rivals

MILAN, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Italian coffee company Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group (MZB) aims to list a minority stake in the company on Milan's bourse in spring next year to better compete with bigger rivals and fund acquisitions.

"We will certainly go public," MZB's owner and founder Massimo Zanetti said on Thursday.

"I hope it will be next spring," he said on the sidelines of a market event in Milan, adding the plan was to list a minority stake in the company excluding its green coffee business.

The group, which operates through more than 20 coffee brands around the world including Italy's market leader Segafredo Zanetti, put back plans to list in October amid volatile financial markets.

Zanetti hopes there will be a new opportunity next year after the group posted more than 1 billion euros ($1.25 billion) in revenue last year, of which 90 percent was generated outside Italy.

"We need fresh funds to grow and vie with the giant rivals we face on global markets," Zanetti said, adding the listing was also aimed at ensuring a smooth succession at the family-owned business once he retires.

"The multinational groups in the coffee market are less fast and flexible than small groups like us, but they can count on very large organizations and budgets," Zanetti said.

In May Mondelez International Inc and competitor D.E Master Blenders 1753 announced they were merging their coffee businesses in a deal aimed at taking on market leader Nestle SA.

With annual revenue of more than $7 billion, the new company will be the world's No. 1 pure-play coffee company.

In the United States, where MZB is the No. 3 coffee roaster, the group competes with Keuring Green Mountains, which has a partnership with Italian coffee maker Lavazza.

Zanetti said the group was in the last stage of acquiring a roaster in Costa Rica. He did not name the Costa Rican company.

He also said the group was looking in Asia for further acquisitions.

"Demand is growing in countries such as China, Japan where the consumption of tea is being replaced in part with coffee," he said, adding demand was also growing in Russia and Poland. Coffee consumption is steady in the United States and Europe.

1 US dollar = 0.7974 euro

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