Croatia’s Agrokor Takes Over Slovenian Rival

Agrokor is to buy a 53.1 percent stake in the Slovenian food retailer Mercator for a price of 86 euro per share, media reported on Thursday.

From the money paid by Agrokor, shareholders will receive 325 million euro, Mercator subcontract suppliers 20 million euro, while the rest will go directly to the Slovenian company, which to finance its bank loans.

Upon payment, the banks will give an additional 80 million euro loan to further finance Mercator’s debts to supplier companies.

Agrokor’s owner Ivica Todoric went from being a wholesale flower shop owner in the early 1990s to a regional player in food retail, creating an economic empire with revenues of seven billion euro per year.

Agrokor first declared its interest in Mercator back in 2011, when it offered 221 euro per share, but the bid proved unpopular in Slovenia and was blocked.

Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek welcomed the takeover and assured the public that no job cuts would follow.

But Zoran Jankovic, former Mercator CEO and leader of the Positive Slovenia party, complained that the deal was “playing with the faith of workers and suppliers”.

Both Mercator and Agrokor shares went up after the takeover was announced.

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