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Refresco Group has rejected a takeover bid from PAI Partners, the French private equity buyout firm, Europe’s largest soft drinks bottler said in a statement.

The unsolicited offer values the company, which bottles top brands like Del Monte juice drinks and Innocent smoothies, at €1.4bn.

The company confirmed earlier reports by Bloomberg that it had received an offer from PAI on April 6 with a view to take the company private. The report said other private equity groups may also be interested.

Shares in Refresco, which listed in 2015, were up 7.39 per cent in early afternoon trading in Amsterdam, having earlier registered their biggest-ever gain. The company currently has a market capitalisation of €1.13bn.

Founded in 1999, Refresco posted revenues of roughly €2.1bn in 2016 and net profit of €81.5m. It operates in a number of key European countries, including Benelux, the UK, France and Germany.

PAI declined to comment.

Private equity companies are increasingly identifying public companies they can take private partly because there aren’t enough non-listed assets for sale.

On Monday, Cinven and Bain Capital agreed to buy Stada, a listed German drugmaker, for €4.1bn.

A Bain & Co. report revealed a significant uptake take-private deals in healthcare in the US.

This comes as investors look to hunt for assets in public markets. The report said the trend “may even spread to Europe”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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