Chilean business magnate Liliana Solari, the owner of Chilean retail chain Falabella, expressed interest to buy the assets of financially troubled Italian food and dairy group Parmalat in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

Liliana Solari declared her interest in the assets of Parmalat in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay to the government-appointed administrator Parmalat, Enrico Bondi. The sales of Parmalat in these three countries total $140 mln (111.93 mln euro) annually.

Solari is yet to specify her offer in U.S. dollars. Liliana Solari has initially intended to buy Parmalat's assets in Chile only, but later she decided to extend her offer to the companies in Argentina and Uruguay, too.

Argentine unit of Parmalat is by far the largest of the three. Parmalat Argentina has two plants in the Buenos Aires province with a combined workforce of over 1,200. The turnover of the company for 2003 totalled 190 mln Argentine pesos ($65.07 mln/52.02 mln euro), up 11 pct year-on-year. Parmalat Uruguay closed 2003 with sales of $36 mln (28.78 mln euro) and the turnover of Parmalat Chile for 2003 totalled $40 mln (31.98 mln euro).

Grupo Solari operates in Chile through the investment holding Bethia. Liliana Solari is already present in the dairy market in Chile via its company Calan.