Christmas favourite Pandoro cake survives bankruptcy through Malta equity fund

Melegatti, producer of the world-famous Pandoro since 1894, has survived bankruptcy thanks to a last-minute cash injection by a private equity fund managed by a company based in Malta

The many lovers of the Italian Pandoro – not to be confused with its equally-loved cousin the pannettone – will be able to enjoy their favourite soft cake this Christmas and in the future, thanks to an investment company based in Malta.

On 8 December, Melegatti – the Verona company which has been producing the Pandoro since 1896 – was on the brink of collapse, and had already stopped production and notified its 300 full-time workers of the termination of their employment.

But at the end of last week, the company’s comptrollers announced they had accepted an investment from a private equity fund managed by a company registered in Malta.

Sources close to the deal confirmed to MaltaToday that Abalone Asset Management Limited, set up in 2015, had committed up to €2 million in extraordinary funding while another Italian fund was to commit €4 million in commercial credit.

The company has since already turned out 5,000 Pandoros, which it is distributing directly to retailers, having missed out on all wholesale delivery schedules for the festive season.

The case was covered extensively by Italian media, which reported on the complaints of the 300 full-time employees and the numerous part-timers, who had yet to be able to cash the salaries for the last three months.

The workers’ union welcomed news of the new investment by the Malta-based equity fund and said it was looking forward to see a new plan and strategy for the longevity of the company drawn up as soon as possible.

“Now we expect a serious plan of action that befits the brand’s history and potential as well as recognising the responsibility shown by the workers,” Maurizio Tolotto of the Fai Cisl union, said.

Sources within Abalone Asset Management told MaltaToday they were quite proud to have been able to save such a prominent brand and product.

They were also hopeful news of the investment would help counter some of the bad press Malta faced in recent weeks, having just narrowly escaped a vote in the European Parliament on being declared a tax haven. The firm is based in Pietà and employs 13 staff. Only recently, sources said, it has reached €1 billion of assets under its management.

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