Ljubljana Court Upholds Decision on Mercator Shares Expropriation

By 8 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 8, 2020 - Ljubljana District Court on Tuesday upheld a decision by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (AVK) on the expropriation of Mercator shares owned by the Croatian food company Agrokor, rejecting the appeal in that case as unfounded, AVK said.

AVK said on its website it had received a decision by Ljubljana District Court regarding an appeal submitted by Agrokor against a decision by AVK to temporarily confiscate Agrokor's shares in Mercator in an effort to secure the enforcement of a misdemeanour decision.

"The agency explains that the decision by the relevant court has entirely upheld the agency's decision and rejected the appeal as unfounded," AVK said briefly.

AVK decided to confiscate Agrokor's shares in Mercator on December 16 in an effort to secure the enforcement of the misdemeanour decision to fine Agrokor 53.9 million euro for not reporting concentration with the Costella water bottling company.

Agrokor appealed against the decision on December 24, claiming that it was legally unfounded, unconstitutional, arbitrary and unlawful.

At the time, Agrokor reported Slovenian agency to the Vice-President of the European Commission and EU competition authorities and institutions for the protection of market competition regarding the transfer of Mercator's assets from Agrokor to the new Fortenova group. Agrokor then said that AVK's decision was contrary to the laws and practice in the EU and Slovenia.

Agrokor on Tuesday expressed regret over a Ljubljana court decision rejecting its appeal against a decision by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (AVK) on the expropriation of Agrokor's shares in Mercator and said that it would use all legal means to contest the decision.

"Agrokor expresses its regret over the court's decision and will use all available legal means to have the agency's final decision overturned to ensure its ownership rights in Mercator," Agrokor said in a press release.

Slovenia's Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek on Tuesday supported the Ljubljana court's decision to reject Agrokor's complaint as unfounded.

"Slovenia is a law-governed state and its laws need to be respected," Počivalšek said on his Twitter profile.

More Agrokor news can be found in the Business section.