Supreme Court orders release Mercator shares
The AVK seized Mercator shares to ensure that Agrokor pay a EUR 53.9 million fine imposed by the AVK in September 2019 after the group failed to notify the AVK of its takeover of Slovenian bottled water company Costella.
In June, the newspaper Dnevnik reported that the Ljubljana Local Court had reduced the Costella takeover fine to EUR 1 million.
Fortenova said in a press release today that the Prosecutor General's office had lodged an appeal on the point of law with the Supreme Court, claiming the seizure of shares was illegal. The Supreme Court granted the appeal with a final ruling that cannot be appealed, Fortenova said.
The Supreme Court said that the AVK did not have legal grounds to seize Mercator shares. In line with the minor offences act, seizure of shares is only possible if there is suspicion that the perpetrator would go into hiding or abroad before the offences procedure is completed, which is impossible for a legal entity, the Supreme Court said.
This comes after Agrokor's attempt to free up its Mercator shares had been rejected by courts at several instances, including the Constitutional Court.
Fortenova CEO Fabris Peruško welcomed the ruling, with the group expressing hope that the shares will be available to Agrokor as soon as possible. It expects Mercator to become a part of Fortenova by the end of the year.
However, the transferral from the bankrupt Agrokor to Fortenova still needs to be approved by the European Commission and Mercator's 56 creditor banks.
Mercator was sold by Slovenia in 2014 to the now defunct Agrokor, whose viable businesses are being transferred to Fortenova.