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Mike Knowles



GF Group set to go public as Orsero

Company will be listed on stock exchange in early 2017, although current owners are expected to retain shareholding

GF Group set to go public as Orsero

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Italian fresh produce distributor GF Group is to be listed on the AIM Italia segment of Italy's main stock exchange, Borsa Italiana, and will be renamed Orsero, under new proposals put forward by its board of directors.

The news was announced after the directors reached an agreement to merge the company with Glenalta Food, a so-called special purchase acquisition company (Spac) already open to public investment.

Shareholders are expected to vote on whether to approve the proposal at general meetings due to be held on 29 November and 1 December.

If successful, it will be the first case in Italy of a termination of debt restructuring agreements with a simultaneous listing on the stock exchange.

While such a move to secure a public listing would mark the end of GF Group’s many decades of direct ownership under the Orsero family, it is understood that the current owners will remain “key shareholders” in the resulting merged entity.

From the effective date of the merger, the group noted, five out of seven people on the newly named Orsero company’s board of directors will be nominated by GF Group itself.

Once the new operation comes into being at the start of 2017 as appears likely, Orsero is expected to name current GF Group chief executive Paolo Prudenziati as chairman of its board of directors, although he will also retain certain management responsibilities.

Raffaella Orsero, now the group’s chairman, will be nominated deputy chairman and chief executive.

GF Group’s current chief financial officer Matteo Colombini will also take on a chief executive role and sit on the new board.

According to a press release issued by GF Group, the company was selected as a target acquisition by Glenalta Food “thanks to its recent economic results and its strong competitive position in the reference markets”.

It added that the listing would mean that the company “will once again have the financial resources to dedicate to significant growth plans” within the fresh fruit and vegetable import and distribution business.

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