Exclusive: Court-appointed commissioner - Parmalat should cut LAG price by $151 million

(Reuters) - A court-appointed commissioner has recommended Italian dairy group Parmalat cut the price it paid to its parent company Lactalis to acquire its North American cheesemaking division by $151 million, a move that will please minority shareholders.

Parmalat <PLT.MI>, which is 83-percent owned by French dairy firm Lactalis, initially agreed last year to buy Lactalis American Group (LAG) from the parent for $904 million, a move that angered minority shareholders who accused management of acting in the parent company's interest by overpaying.

Last month, Parmalat cut the price of the deal to $774 million to take into account lower 2012 earnings. However, minority shareholders want the price cut further. The acquisition has been the focus of a legal inquiry.

According to a confidential court report seen by Reuters, commissioner Angelo Manaresi recommended cutting the price further to $623.15, based on a multiple of 7.65 times its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization).

(Reporting by Valentina Accardo)