Croatia’s Neighbours Support Agrokor Restructuring Process

By 17 April 2018

Regional ministers meet in Slovenia.

Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Martina Dalić met with ministers of the economy of neighbouring countries on Bled in Slovenia on Tuesday, reports N1 on April 17, 2017.

The topic of the meeting was the current situation and further steps in solving the problems in the embattled Agrokor Group. The meeting included Slovenian Minister of Economy and Development Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirko Šarović, Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić, and a representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development of Montenegro.

Minister Dalić said that she informed her regional colleagues about the progress of the extraordinary administration process in Agrokor, the results of the process and the fact that a framework agreement with creditors has been reached, which opens a path towards achieving a final settlement.

“There is still a lot of work to be done by the extraordinary administration, but we have arguments to believe that the process will be concluded. It is clear that the course of the extraordinary administration process and the preservation of Agrokor's business stability have contributed to the fact that those companies from the Agrokor system which are not covered by the process can operate and provide stability to economies in neighbouring countries,” said Dalić.

“At this point, the stakeholders are working intensively on writing the legal text of the settlement and on the remaining details so that we could have the settlement text ready by July 10, and that the Agrokor system can return to normal business operations in Croatia and neighbouring countries,” added Dalić.

The journalists were interested in the structure of the new Agrokor. “The future ownership structure was in some way determined by the former owner with his borrowing of funds. It is too early to say how it will change in the future. Banks usually do not stay long in the ownership structure of companies,” said the Croatian minister.

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajić said that the problem with Agrokor started from Croatia, but that it was a regional problem. “We are interested for the problem to be resolved. It seems that only problems can force us to cooperate, but this could be a model for solving other problems as well," Ljajić said.

He commented on the new ownership structure of Agrokor. “No one can interfere in ownership relations in private companies, and the future ownership structure will be decided by Russian banks and US funds. They will have the interest to increase the value of the company to get more money. Will Serbian investors be interested? Probably, for those companies which are doing business in Serbia,” Ljajić said.

Mirko Šarović, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that he and his colleagues from the region had received first-hand information on everything that will happen in the next few months. "We support the stabilisation of Agrokor," he said. “For several months now, the situation has been stabilising.”

“We welcome the return of Mercator to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This process is successful, Mercator is the bright spot. It is important to us that it can regularly settle its obligations to suppliers, and we can say that Konzum has also entered the stabilisation phase. We welcome everything which the Croatian government is doing,” said Šarović.

Biljana Jakić, the representative of Montenegro, said she supported all the activities that will lead to the restructuring and stabilisation of Agrokor. “Mercator and Ledo operate in Montenegro. The companies are stable, they respect their obligations towards suppliers and the state,” said Jakić.

Translated from N1.