BANK SUCCEEDS IN 2ND TRY TO BUY SANDRETTO: MEDIOCREDITO HAS BETTER LUCK WITH CANNON GROUP

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SO PAULO, BRAZIL—Banca Mediocredito, an Italian bank that is teaming up with Cannon Group to buy injection press maker Sandretto Group, was involved in an earlier, failed attempt by a group of institutional investors to buy Sandretto, Sandretto executives said at Brasilplast 97.

But this new deal with Cannon is better because Cannon, like Sandretto, is a machinery manufacturer, according to Mario Manzo, Sandretto's sales and marketing director and a member of the firm's managing board.

Sandretto is Italy's largest manufacturer of injection molding machines. The Turin-based company had 1996 sales of about $150 million. Cannon announced March 19 that the Sandretto managing board has accepted an offer from Cannon and Banca Mediocredito.

Two Sandretto board members at Brasilplast, Manzo and Allessandro Perciavalle, said they opposed the earlier deal last summer, because it would not have included new owners well-versed in building machines. Perciavalle also is the company's director of administration and finance.

The Italian government has owned Sandretto since 1993.

``We were opposed to a purely financial solution,'' Manzo said March 17 at the SÌo Paulo trade show.

``We tried to convince [government officials] that the best solution was still with a bank, but with an industrial partner.''

Cannon is a much-stronger owner, Manzo said. Cannon, based in Trezzano, Italy, is a major manufacturer of machines for processing polyurethane foam. The company also makes thermoforming and compression molding machines, plus aluminum die-casting equipment, electronics and pumps.

The Sandretto officials were interviewed after a March 17 news conference with their Brazilian partner, IrmÌos Semeraro Ltda. of SÌo Paulo. Semeraro manufactures Sandretto injection molding machines in Brazil, under a licensing agreement.

Massimo Taverna, Cannon Group's communications manager, said the new ownership will be good for Sandretto.

``It was a going-concern offer,'' Taverna said. ``It was not a deal to take over bits and pieces. It's a deal to continue the production of the company.''