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Campari without soda

July 6, 2001 Posted: 0846 GMT

LONDON (CNN) -- Drinks maker Campari came without soda to its Milan bourse debut on Friday, trading flat after listing in Italy's biggest IPO this year.

Campari, famous for its trademark bitter red aperitif, floated 49 percent of itself at graphic31 a share,  valuing it at graphic900 million ($762 million). The shares edged down to graphic30.60. Campari intends to use the cash for acquisitions.

The shares were priced at the lower end of the indicative price range of graphic30 to graphic38. The initial public offering was three times oversubscribed, the company said.

Founded in 1860 when Gaspare Campari invented the formula for the aperitif, Campari only added to its stable in the 1990s, with the acquisition of a number of other brands, including the Cinzano aperitif.

Campari now owns 16 spirits, wine and soft drink brands and also makes 11 drinks under licence, including the Grand Marnier orange liqueur, Glenfiddich malt whisky and Lipton Ice Tea.

Campari posted sales of graphic434 million in 2000 compared with graphic366 million the year before, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rising to graphic104.7 million from graphic86.4 million in 1999.

The share sale allows key shareholders such as Dutch food group Wessanen and UBS Capital, the private equity branch of UBS Warburg,  to sell stakes they hold in Campari.

Italy's Garavoglia family owned about 65 percent of Campari before the IPO and will retain control of the company.



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