Bloomberg News

Slovenia's Mercator Net Tumbles as Balkan Economies Slow

May 15, 2012

Mercator Poslovni Sistem (MELR) d.d., the largest supermarket chain in the Balkans, said first-quarter profit tumbled as the region’s economic slump pushed consumers to spend less.

Net income in the period was 700,000 euros ($893,830) from 10.2 million euros in the first three months last year, the Ljubljana-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Revenue advanced 3.6 percent to 676 million euros, it said.

“A significant economic slowdown, increase in jobless rates and lower real disposable income have resulted in reduced spending,” Mercator said in the statement.

Mercator, which Croatian rival Agrokor d.d. attempted to take over earlier this year, faces slowing economies at home and abroad as it fights increased competition from new entrants such as Delhaize Group SA (DELB) of Belgium.

The Balkan-region economies are struggling to avoid a second recession in three years as the debt crisis in Europe damps demand for their exports and Greece’s deepening crisis makes banks reluctant to lend.

Agrokor plans to make another offer for Mercator, Croatian newspaper Poslovni said yesterday after Croatia’s largest private company abandoned its previous bid in February due to a protracted process.

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

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


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