Žito Latest in String of Food Firms Sold to Foreign Investors


Atlantic Grupa Secures Leading Food Brands with Droga Kolinska Acquisition

Croatian food conglomerate Atlantic Grupa acquired an outright stake in Droga Kolinska from the struggling Istrabenz conglomerate in 2010, in what was the first major acquisition in the food sector. The takeover was worth EUR 243m. Istrabenz needed the money to repay creditors as part of debt restructuring launched after a failed management buyout. The acquisition saw renowned Slovenian food brands such as coffee Barcaffe, pate Argeta and the soda Cockta pass into foreign hands.

Fructal Sold to Serbia's Nectar

The Pivovarna Laško beverage group sold its 93.73% stake in fruit drinks maker Fructal to Serbia's family-owned company Nectar in late 2011 for EUR 35.3m. The household name was sold as part of financial restructuring at Laško and the Serbian owner has since gained an outright stake in the company at a total cost of EUR 51m. While Nectar has outsourced some of the production to Serbia, Fructal continues to operate out of its headquarters in Ajdovščina and continues to purchase locally-grown fruit.

No.1 Dairy Offloaded to Lactalis

French dairy group Lactalis acquired 50.3% of Ljubljanske mlekarne in late 2012, Slovenia's biggest dairy, in a deal involving financial firms NFD Holding and KD Delniški Dohodkovni, the Sava conglomerate, Factor banka and KD Banka. The stake, which Lactalis subsequently transferred to its Croatian subsidiary Dukat, was reportedly valued at EUR 20m, although its official value was never revealed. Dukat subsequently acquired shares from the remaining shareholders to secure an outright stake in Ljubljanske mlekarne.

Agrokor Snaps up Two Food Firms with Mercator Takeover

When Croatia's Agrokor acquired retailer Mercator in mid-2014, it also secured two food subsidiaries. In April this year Mercator already sold off its in-house bakery Pekarna Grosuplje to Metlika-based bakery Don Don for an undisclosed amount reported to be about EUR 30m. It is widely believed it will also offload the wholly-owned Mercator Emba, which has a portfolio of brands spanning from coffee to snacks and breakfast cereal and annual net sales in excess of EUR 20m.

Slovenian-Italian Joint Venture Acquires Vipava Dairy

A joint venture in majority ownership of Italian dairy Trevisanalat completed the acquisition of the Vipava dairy in late 2013 for an undisclosed amount from Agroind Vipava. The dairy was shut down and converted to mozzarella production, a speciality of the Resana-based Trevisanalat.

Radenska Sold as Laško Completes Restructuring

Kofola, a Czech beverage group best known for its soda, bought a 93.98% stake in mineral water producer Radenska for EUR 64.65m from Pivovarna Laško and the DBS bank, as part of Laško's debt restructuring process in late 2014. The deal was finalised in March 2015. The acquisition gave Kofola one of the best known Slovenian brands and signalled the end of Laško as a beverage conglomerate.

Heineken Gets Majority of Slovenian Beer Market in Single Swoop

Dutch brewer Heineken signed an agreement in April 2015 to purchase a majority stake in Pivovarna Laško for EUR 25.56 per share in a deal that values the entire company at about EUR 224m. Pending clearance by the anti-trust authorities, the deal will give Heineken about 80% of the Slovenian beer market and both key brands, Laško and Union, which Heineken said it wanted to preserve. It is as yet unclear whether Laško's soft drinks and water brands will also be retained.