The Slovenia Times

Elektronček buying water bottling company Costella


Ljubljana/Kostel - The gaming company Elektronček Group, owned by entrepreneur Joc Pečečnik, has announced the acquisition of the company Costella. Costella's owner, the Swiss company Agrokor, which is in liquidation, put the water bottling company, whose most valuable asset is a water extraction concession valid until 2035, up for sale at the end of last year.

Elektronček announced the takeover on 29 July, says the website of the Agency for the Protection of Competition.

According to unofficial information of the business newspaper Finance, the price is not high as Costella has been struggling in recent years. Elektronček is to pay less than EUR 5 million for the company.

Costella's most valuable asset is the water extraction concession valid until 2035 with the possibility of extension, under which Costella can extract 250 million litres of water a year.

But its current capacities, built in 2006 and 2007, enable the extraction of up to ten million litres of water per year. The water source lies in a primeval forest in the immediate vicinity of the bottling plant near the town of Kostel in southern Slovenia.

Agrokor's takeover of Costella in 2017 was scrutinised by the Agency for the Protection of Competition. In 2019, the agency fined Agrokor EUR 53.9 million for failing to notify Slovenia's competition regulator of concentration following the takeover and temporarily banned it from using the shares of retailer Mercator in October 2019, which Agrokor challenged in court.

But after a Supreme Court decision in the matter, the agency had to return Mercator shares to Agrokor in mid-2020, while the Ljubljana District Court lowered its fine to EUR 1 million, which Agrokor paid last year.

Pečečnik holds a 90% stake in the Dutch holding Elektroncek Group, which used to own 94.5% of Interblock, a leading global manufacturer of electronic table games for casinos. In June, Interblock was sold to the company IB OCM Voteco, seated in Cayman Islands, which is according to Finance's unofficial information controlled by the US fund Oaktree Capital Management.

Finance unofficially reported the deal was worth EUR 300 million, which Pečečnik allegedly plans to invest in golf tourism and resorts, and other financial and non-financial projects, mostly in Slovenia.


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