The Slovenia Times

Mercator Stronger Company Today, Agrokor Boss Says


In an interview run by Finance on Monday, Todorić described the Mercator takeover as a "great European story", arguing that the acquisition had produced a system that could get penetrate European and global markets.

"We are also aware that Mercator is one of the biggest Slovenian companies and understand the company's value for the Slovenian economy. We will do everything in our power so it becomes the largest and most efficient Slovenian company, which is in the interest of the Slovenian economy," he said.

Todorić spoke of big steps taken since the takeover, arguing that by Agrokor's retail arm Kozum taking over Mercator stores in Bosnia and Croatia, the Slovenian company was relieved of a burden on its operations, while it got the powerful Serbian market.

He would not disclose data on the synergies achieved, but he did say the figures were substantial and that they would boost operating results. He said that Mercator's last year operating results were within plans and that they showed many effects of the takeover.

Todorić says he is not afraid of competition from Lidl and Hofer, arguing that Mercator and Konzum can have a competitive edge over both discount retailers. "We have the advantage of understanding the local environment better," he said, adding that the two grocers did better than discount rivals in the local markets.

The Agrokor owner and boss assured Finance that "not a single" Slovenian supplier had been removed from store shelves, while instead several had acquired more shelf space in the region, including beverage company Pivovarna Laško. He said that he would like Mercator to place more emphasis on Slovenian products.

Croatia's wealthiest man also rejected the allegation that the suppliers wanting to sell in the region had to pay a 10% margin to Agrokor, but he did say that the company would like for suppliers to tie-up and to be more competitive.

"We want to protect suppliers, but they need to see to becoming better themselves. This is one of the reasons we squeeze them," he said, adding that the more Mercator and Konzum change, the more the suppliers had to follow suit.

Todorić also said that he had been approached by at least ten large global investors with questions about investment opportunities in Slovenia in recent months. He understands this as a sign that some believe in Slovenia, but also says that the problem is a lack of good projects to attract investment.


More from Nekategorizirano