The Slovenia Times

Retailer Mercator reports EUR 73m net loss for 2016


The figures confirm long-running speculations that Mercator would be deep in the red, but unofficial reports had indicated the loss would be in the range of EUR 50m, compared to a EUR 20m profit in 2015.

At EUR 46m, impairments of claims to companies in the Agrokor group had the biggest impact on operations, shows the annual report, without specifying exactly what kind of claims were impaired.

This follows media reports that Mercator had incurred significant losses because it did not receive rent for stores in Bosnia that are owned by Mercator but managed by Agrokor's second retail arm, Konzum.

When Konzum took over and rebranded the stores, many consumers switched allegiance, in particular in the Serbian entity, the Republic of Srpska, Dnevnik has reported.

But CEO Tomislav Čizmić stressed today that despite the woes of its parent group Agrokor, Mercator was independent in all key business decisions and its outstanding liabilities to banks would be independent of Agrokor's liabilities.

"We firmly believe this is a highly important fact confirming that Mercator's operations are stable and not directly connected to the owner's predicament," he was quoted as saying.

Sales and the bottom line were also affected by temporary store closures for refurbishment, which had a negative financial impact but will improve the company's competitiveness in the long term.

The sales thus dropped 4% on Mercator's core Slovenian market, 6.5% in Serbia, 9.3% in Croatia and 3.7% in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The offloading of non-core assets such as its tour operator and bakery has also affected the year-on-year comparison.

The like-for-like comparison of continued operations, which takes into account the disposal of assets, shows revenue dropping 3.8% to EUR 2.37bn, net profit declining to EUR 78m and EBITDA plunging by 74% to EUR 33.3m.


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