At the end of last week came the news that, after four months of negotiations, Kraft had refused to sell the Maó factory to the Grupo Emcorr which is presided over by the Catalan investor Josep Xicola. Last August the group took over estate agents Fincas Corral, which was on the verge of collapse due to the crisis in the sector, and has just closed negotiations to buy another property company, Don Piso, as well as being interested in Hábitat and the airline Spanair.
Emcorr's Director General, Joan Batalla, explained that the group, a conglomeration of 170 companies (estate agents, food, fashion and packing), wanted to buy or rent the plant in Maó to carry on production and maintain the present workforce. He stated that the "El Caserio" trademark had not been included in the negotiations as Kraft wanted to retain the brand.
According to Batalla, Emcorr's proposal was that it would assume all the Maó factory's existing debts, risk its continuity and keep on all the employees, but he declined to reveal the final price for the deal. He claimed that Kraft Europa had declined Emcorr's offer and would rather close the factory due to an over capacity for production in Spain and Europe of the products made in Maó.
However, the Director General stated that his group would continue negotiations to purchase the Maó plant and would call on the Balearic Government for support. Grupo Emcorr planned to continue production in Maó and to sell the finished product worldwide, especially through the group's contacts in Mexico.
Kraft was quick to respond, issuing a communiqué in which the company denied that it would rather close the Maó factory than sell it and stating that the Grupo Emcorr had not shown that it had a viable business plan that would guarantee the continuity of the plant, nor the jobs of the workforce, nor had it ever made its intentions towards the plant formally known. The multinational stated that negotiations as such had never been held, only telephone conversations in which Emcorr had expressed its interest in negotiating the purchase of the Maó factory.
Kraft Foods España had not considered Emcorr's proposal due to problems experienced by companies recently bought by the group.
The multinational stated that it was still trying to sell the Maó plant and was willing to listen to any interested party that had a viable business plan which would guarantee the continuity of the plant and workforce.