Bloomberg News

Agrokor Sees ‘No Changes’ for Slovenian Suppliers of Mercator

October 19, 2011

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Agrokor d.d., which will need regulatory approval to buy Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d. in Slovenia, won’t make any changes to suppliers for the supermarket chain if its bid is successful, a vice president said.

Slovenian producers and brands “needn’t have any fear” should Agrokor, which owns regional supermarket chain Konzum d.d. and is Croatia’s largest company, be successful in “its desire to acquire Mercator,” Executive Vice President Ljerka Puljic said.

Agrokor on Oct. 17 made a non-binding offer for Mercator that values the Slovenian company at 840 million euros ($1.15 billion) as it expands further in the Balkans.

Agrokor submitted a bid of 221 euros per share for half of the Ljubljana-based company to adviser ING Bank NV, two people involved in the offer said yesterday, asking not to be identified because the bids aren’t public yet. If chosen, Agrokor would have to extend its offer for the rest of the shares, under Slovenian law, and may have to pay as much as 2 billion euros, including debt assumption, Poslovni Dnevnik reported.

“We respect the position of Slovenian brands on their market, and there should be no change in that,” Puljic told journalists in Zagreb today, adding the company would make no comments about its bid at present. “We respect the expectations of consumers as we have shown in our retail chain in Serbia,” she said.

Agrokor is trying to deepen its reach in other former Yugoslav republics as competition increases. Brussels-based Delhaize Group SA, the owner of Food Lion supermarkets in the U.S., bought Serbia’s Delta Maxi Group, the biggest chain in that country. Agrokor last month asked Slovenia’s competition protection office to approve its takeover.

Puljic also said Agrokor’s revenue this year will grow 8 percent from a year ago, an increase over a forecast of 6 percent made in a interview on June 1.

--Editors: Douglas Lytle, James M. Gomez

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic in Zagreb at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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