By NBF News

French dairy group Lactalis secured 83.3 percent of Italian peer Parmalat SpA after a buyout that ended on Friday, moving closer to creating the world's biggest dairy company.

Lactalis bought 54.3 percent of Parmalat, Italy's biggest listed food group, in the 2.5 billion euro ($3.6 billion) buyout, Parmalat said in a statement. It had owned 29 percent before its launch.

Parmalat will remain a listed company, it said.
The buyout offer of 2.6 euros a share was aimed at getting Lactalis at least 55 percent of Parmalat, known for its long-life milk.

'With nearly 15 billion euros in revenues, the new Lactalis group becomes the world leader for dairy products, with a presence in 55 countries,' the family-owned French group said in a statement.

Lactalis already owned well-known Italian cheese brands such as Galbani and Locatelli. It took control of Parmalat after thwarting government-backed attempts by Italian investors to keep it in domestic hands.

The French cheesemaker won nine of 11 board seats at a Parmalat shareholder meeting last week.