The Slovenia Times

Economy minister meets Balkan counterparts to discuss Mercator


Počivalšek will host Croatia's Martina Dalić, Serbia's Rasim Ljajić, Bosnia's Mirko Šarović and Biljana Jakić, an official at Montenegro's Economy Ministry.

The goal is to protect Slovenia's public interest in Mercator, a company of systemic importance, in relation to its majority owner to enable it to operate in a stable manner, according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.

The meeting comes a week after Agrokor's creditors reached an agreement on key points of the settlement for the Croatian company.

Under the agreement, to be signed on 10 June, creditor banks are expected to become Agrokor's largest owners.

However, analysts expect the banks to consolidate Agrokor's retail business to sell it to a strategic partner.

This means that Mercator and Konzum could merge. As the newspaper Delo has recently reported, Mercator could well play the leading role in consolidation efforts.

Some 53% of Mercator, Slovenia's flagship retailer, was sold to Agrokor in 2014 by a consortium of Mercator's creditors and the group around brewer Laško.

The sellers got EUR 172 million euro for the retailer, while Agrokor also signed a contract with the banks to restructure one billion euro in debt.

The sale was part of Laško's debt restructuring, and given Mercator's status, its sale has been accompanied by a debate on national interest, meaning that some thought it should stay in Slovenian hands.


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