Like a turkey being carved up for Thanksgiving dinner, the assets of the giant Italian food and beverage conglomerate Parmalat Finanziaria are being sold off piece by piece, wing by thigh.
Coolbrands International, the maker of Eskimo Pies, snapped up Kinnet Dairy, Parmalat's southern U.S. ice cream distributor, for an undisclosed amount, which was closely followed by the sale of Milk Products of Alabama to privately held National Dairy Holdings, a spinoff of Dean Foods
As I noted back in March, the sum of Parmalat's parts is far more valuable than the company as a whole. The only ones who probably aren't salivating at the demise of the dairy giant are its creditors. Since the company became enmeshed in scandal last December, former owner Calisto Tanzi has been thrown into jail, it filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection, and the government stepped in with turnaround expert Enrico Bondi and a plan to bail the company out. Sitting off to the side at the Thanksgiving kiddies table are Parmalat's creditors.
On average, creditors will lose more than 85% of the $17.3 billion they loaned to the company over the years. Rather, they will receive shares and up to 500 warrants that may be exchanged for future shares in a restructured company that will have a value equal to little more than 11% of their original investment. While they have the right to reject the plan, creditors are expected to give their approval. Gizzards, apparently, are better than nothing.
Parmalat collapsed in scandal after it was revealed that a bank account at Bank of America
The restructuring plan offered for Parmalat includes shedding virtually all of its non-core holdings. The only parts to remain are those for which the company is best known: milk, milk-related products, and fruit juices. The company's brands will be plucked like so many feathers, from 120 down to 30. Gone will be chocolates maker Streglio and the tourism business run by Tanzi's family. Optimistically, the plan calls for Parmalat to return to profitability by next year.
There are still a lot of tasty morsels available. Parmalat had subsidiaries in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Brazil, many of which were more financially sound than the parent. New Jersey-based Farmland Dairies is a major milk producer, and Archway cookies remains the No. 3 cookie maker behind Kraft
Whether they'll last as long as Parmalat's long-life milk remains to be seen. Otherwise they'll end up being someone's tasty leftovers.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey enjoys cold turkey with mayonnaise. He does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article.