The Slovenia Times

Deadline for Mercator Takeover Deal Extended



Negotiations continue, said beverage group Pivovarna Laško, which has been in talks to offload its 23% stake in Mercator together with several banks as part of a consortium of shareholders selling a 53% stake.

One of the conditions for the sale deal signed between the consortium and Agrokor in June 2013 is for Mercator to reach a loan restructuring deal with the creditor banks, the deadline for which expired last Friday.

However, just before the deadline, Agrokor opted for an extension. If an agreement on loan restructuring is not reached, the June sale contract allows Agrokor to withdraw without having to pay rescission damages.

Negotiations on loan restructuring cannot continue beyond 31 March, the final deadline for the transfer of shares, when the moratorium given to Mercator by its creditor banks also expires.

Agrokor can give up the condition at any time until the finalisation of the agreement, while the signatories can also agree on extending the formal deadline for a refinancing. This way Agrokor would be bound not to withdraw from the deal in a certain period.

Despite the sale deal signed more than seven months ago, it remains unclear whether Agrokor will in fact take over the 53% stake in Mercator form the consortium that aside from Laško also includes Slovenia's largest two banks (NLB and NKBM) and several smaller, including foreign banks.

No official information has been available on the talks, but reports have suggested that Agrokor reduced the price offered per share in early January to EUR 80 from EUR 120 agreed in June, but in exchange for a capital injection into Mercator.


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