Sunday, 10 April 2022

Sberbank Sells Fortenova Stake to Hungarian Indotek Group

April the 10th, 2022 - The Russian Sberbank has now sold its former 43 percent stake in Fortenova to the Hungarian Indotek company, Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko has announced.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Andrea Koscec writes, the Russian Sberbank has sold its 43 percent stake in the Fortenova Group to a Hungarian investment fund called Indotek Group, majority owned by one of the richest Hungarians of all, Daniel Jellinek, Bloomberg reported, and soon after, Fortenova confirmed the information on its website.

The price involved hasn't yet been announced, but it was pointed out that in order to conclude the transaction, it was necessary to provide solutions from the competent regulatory authorities across several markets.

In mid-March, Jutarnji list reported that it had "started an in-depth analysis process related to the possible sale of shares within the company" and then announced that Jellinek, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of around 300 million euros, was interested. It was speculated back then, although such processes usually take months, that given the development of the situation in Ukraine and the obvious interest of Sberbank to get out of ownership in Fortenova, an agreement could be reached long before it would otherwise be expected. A spokesman for Daniel Jellinek told Bloomberg that Jellinek sees the deal as a long-term investment, and Indotek will be a strategic partner of the Fortenova Group.

On the occasion of the signing of the sales contract and the announced change of ownership, Fabris Perusko, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of the Fortenova Group, welcomed the entry of Indotek into the ownership structure, which he said recognises as a long-term strategic partner in the co-ownership of Fortenova.

''Despite a possible change in co-ownership, the Fortenova Group continues to operate on a regular basis. Our operating companies are successfully managing market disruptions caused by rising operating costs and disruptions in some supply chains that our many customers aren't feeling and we're fully focused on preparing for this year's season from which we have significant expectations,'' said Perusko.

The Hungarian Indotek Group manages assets worth more than three billion euros in total, and according to its website, Indotek is a financial conglomerate owned by Hungarian and American investors, with a diversified business in real estate, financial services, but also logistics and transportation. The company employs 380 people, is headquartered in Budapest and has 12 branches across the country, as well as its own offices in Spain, Italy, Romania, Poland, Greece and here in Croatia.

Indotek has now become Fortenova's largest single shareholder, but - like the Russian Sberbank has been so far - it will have to seek the consent of the two remaining major shareholders - Pavle Vujnovac, the owner of Enna Group, and Russia's state-owned VTB Bank, which holds a seven percent stake in Fortenova, and is currently sanctioned.

The Fortenova Group is otherwise the largest food trader and producer in Southeastern Europe, and was formed after the settlement of the former Agrokor's creditors back in April 2019. Its financial situation has improved significantly over more recent years, as evidenced by its debt-to-operating ratio (EBITDA). It employs about 50,000 people.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Fortenova Starts Due Diligence Regarding Possible Sale of Company Stake

ZAGREB, 18 March (2022) - Fortenova Group said on Friday that the process of due diligence had been launched regarding the possible sale of an interest in the company, declining to reveal further details.

Fortenova Group can confirm that due diligence regarding the possible sale of a stake has started but it cannot comment on any details, the group said in reply to a query from Hina.

Fortenova Group executive director Fabris Peruško said on Thursday he expected the Russian state bank Sberbank to sell its interest in Fortenova Group.

The Russian bank, which holds a 40% stake in Fortenova Group, is the group's biggest single shareholder.

The possible sale can be considered a consequence of sanctions Russian banks have been exposed to due to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Another Russian bank, VTB, holds a stake in Fortenova as well, of 7%.

The Jutarnji List daily issue of Friday says that talks are presumably being held with several potential buyers. According to unofficial information available to the daily, the Hungarian investment fund Indotek Group, majority-owned by one of the wealthiest Hungarians, Daniel Jellinek, is seriously interested in buying the stake.

Indotek Group is a financial conglomerate owned by Hungarian and US investors, specialising in real estate, financial services as well as logistics and transport.

Fortenova Group d.d. was established in early April 2019 following a successful settlement between Agrokor food retailer's creditors. The group has more than 50,000 employees and operates in three core activities: agriculture, retail and food, as well as non-core operations.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko Reveals Plans for 2022, Including Investments

December the 20th, 2021 - Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko has spoken out about what this gigantic Croatian company of strategic importance's plans are for the year 2022, including investments and more.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Fabris Perusko writes, back in 2020, we learned how to work and live within the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, in 2021, unfortunately, we were shown that such needs weren't going to be solely limited to 2020. The continuation of the global pandemic, shocks in supply chains, demand, rising energy and raw material prices, the growing threat of climate change and demands for the global adoption of a sustainability model that will save the planet… all of this constantly changed business conditions and required almost daily adjustments.

However, despite such pronounced external influences, the Fortenova Group has experienced quite the special year, at least according to Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko, who has referred to 2021 as a year that was transformational. Throughout nine months of Fortenova's operations, the huge company further increased its profit and generated an impressive 1.3 million kuna in net profit compared to the loss realised back during the same period last year.

As such, 2021 has definitely been a historic year for the Fortenova Group, even without adding the significant implementation of several important capital and financial consolidation projects, the key of which were the sale of the Frozen Food Business Area for 615 million euros and the transfer of Mercator to the Fortenova Group.

The transaction with Nomad Foods, which is entering the region's market for the first time through Ledo, Frikom, Ledo Citluk and some other smaller companies, has been declared the business of the decade in Southeastern Europe by the media and by analysts alike, while the transfer of Mercator in 2021 saw it finally consolidated into the ownership of Fortenova.

Previously, just two years after the implementation of its own financial restructuring, the Fortenova Group had fully refinanced Mercator's borrowing from as many as 55 banks, conducted a public offering and increased its ownership in Mercator to more than 90 percent.

''We expect that soon, after the payment of the remaining small shareholders, we'll have 100 percent ownership in Mercator,'' stated the confident Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko.

Looking forward to 2022, Fortenova has a total planned investment of as much as 130 million euros, and that will be one of the significant investors in the economies of the countries in which it operates. Namely, the company is facing the realisation of several very important investments in its production companies, and the first of them is in the Jana plant in Gorica Svetojanska, where the most advanced technology for the aseptic line has already been installed, and where refreshing soft drinks will be bottled.

Large investments are also in the pipeline for both Dijamant and PIK Vrbovec, and a strong investment cycle will be launched in the retail sector by opening up new and re-arranging existing stores, as well as the digitalisation of the retail sector across the entire region. At the same time, after the regional retail of the Fortenova Group was merged with the transfer of Mercator, the company can expect to see the strong effects of synergy processes and continued consolidation in this area throughout 2022.

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Mate Rimac and Fabris Perusko Awarded for Economic Contributions

December the 18th, 2021 - Mate Rimac and Fabris Perusko have both been awarded for their massive contributions to the Croatian economy recently. Rimac is known for his role as the main man of Rimac Automobili and Fabris Perusko has headed Fortenova (formerly Agrokor) for a while now, bringing the massive company back from the brink.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Stela Lechpammer/VL writes, for the first time back in 2017, then again in pre-pandemic 2019 and once again now in 2021, Mate Rimac was named Businessman of the Year for the third time by the expert jury in the prestigious selection "Businessman and Economic Event of the Year" organised by Vecernji list and Poslovni dnevnik for the sixth year running.

Along with Rimac, but according to the readers' choice, the title was also taken by the CEO of Fortenova Group Fabris Perusko, while the economic events of the year were the growth of merchandise exports and industry according to readers and the results of the tourist season according to experts.

"The members of the jury are renowned journalists and editors from the most influential Croatian media, deans of economic faculties and representatives of professional associations. Throughout the year, they monitor who the businessmen and economic events that are changing Croatia for the better are. Therefore, they proposed five people and events for which our readers could vote, and we traditionally award four prizes, for a person and an event chosen by the jury and the audience,'' said Dražen Klaric, editor-in-chief of Vecernji list at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb.

Along with Mate Rimac and Fabris Perusko, Gordan Kolak, CEO of Koncar Elektroindustrija, Martina Dalic, the now President of Podravka, and Roberto Kutic, Silvio Kutic and Izabel Jelenic, the co-owners and co-founders of Infobip, were all nominated for the Businessman of the Year award. The jury finally concluded that the takeover of Bugatti by Rimac Automobili is without a doubt a historic event for Croatia and that Rimac deserves the title.

"For Rimac Automobili, this year has been really intense. In addition to the founding of Bugatti Rimac, there's also the presentation of the Nevera car, the start of construction of the new Rimac campus and the arrival of 300 new employees. We still have a lot of plans and we're looking forward to revealing them to you next year,'' said Marko Brkljacic from the company, who accepted the award on behalf of Mate Rimac.

Readers gave the most votes to Fabris Perusko, who in 2021 continued the process of transforming the largest Croatian business system, Fortenova. This was also felt in the results, and Fortenova generated 12 billion kuna in revenue in the first half of the year, 35 percent more than last year. Fabris Perusko said that the key is in a good team he works with.

"All of these stories create a very good motivation and send out the message that even in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia, positive economic stories can be created," said Fabris Perusko briefly.

When it comes to the economic event of the year in Croatia, readers decided that it is the growth of merchandise exports and industry which should be awarded. This year, the good results achieved even in the pandemic by Croatian industry and domestic exporters were highlighted. Every seventh company, about 20,000 of them, tried to export, and exports increased by a quarter during the year. The award for the category was taken by the Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric.

“It's a great honour for me to receive this award, but we all know very well that it was received primarily on behalf of exporters and private sector enterprises. Exporters are the lifeblood of the Croatian economy and it's certainly the most challenging segment of their business because they have to compete out there on the global market. It isn't easy to produce goods or services and sell them on such a competitive market,'' said Maric, concluding that in 2021, the Croatian Government was of great importance for the success of the economy following its quickly implemented economic measures. Other nominated events were the growth of Croatia's credit rating, the adoption of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, Rimac's takeover of Bugatti and the results of the excellent 2021 summer tourist season, and the latter was chosen as the most important by experts. Minister of Tourism and Sport Nikolina Brnjac pointed out that the synergy of the Croatian Government and the private and public sectors was of paramount importance for this success.

"We'll continue in 2022 the way we did this year, and we're turning to the funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Our goal is to have year-round sustainable tourism and we'll move in that direction,'' said Brnjac. Everyone agreed that this year's tourist season was above all expectations. The eleven-month period ended with 13.5 million guests, who achieved 83.5 million overnight stays. It is expected that foreign exchange earnings from tourism in 2021 exceed the figure of eight billion euros.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Fortenova Group Selling Cibona Tower, Former Seat of Todoric's Agrokor

October the 19th, 2021 - Following a name change to rid the company of its negative associations, the famous Cibona tower, the former seat of the formerly untouchable Ivica Todoric's all powerful Agrokor is now up for sale. The attractive space may well be appealing to many, but for many Croatian businesses, bad energy may dominate and throw a spanner in the works for a quick sale.

It seems a lifetime ago that the potential collapse of Agrokor was the single biggest threat to the Croatian economy. It seems like a much smaller concern in comparison to the economic situation of 2020 caused by the pandemic, but back in 2017, Ivica Todoric's alleged wrongdoing dominated the domestic media space. Fortenova Group, formerly Agrokor, has done an enormous amount of work to reshape what was a crumbling business on the very edge of total collapse, and under Fabris Perusko, the business side of things has recovered rather remarkably.  

Hard work has been done to ''rinse'' the company, only this time not of money, but of bad associations following a tremendous scandal involving former top dog Ivica Todoric and various other individuals, including some big government names. Now the Cibona tower in the City of Zagreb is up for grabs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Fortenova Group has started selling off business premises located within the famous Cibona tower, the former headquarters of Todoric's Agrokor, which looms imposingly over its surroundings. 16 of the 21 floors of the building, which are majority owned by Fortenova Group, are now on the market, writes tportal.

The Colliers agency, which mediates in sales, emphasises that this is a ''famous office building'' in a prestigious location in the centre of Zagreb. According to their estimates, investors could achieve a rental yield of 7 to 9 percent per year, with the possibility of significant capital gains on top of that.

A total of 5,827 square metres of space is for sale, which includes 16 floors of office space and 65 garage spaces, which makes up about 76 percent of the skyscraper's area.

In addition to Fortenova Group, which has a 76 percent stake, the co-owners of the Cibona tower are CI-MED, which holds 10 percent, and Elektroprojekt, which owns 14 percent.

Currently, 35 percent of the advertised space is rented by various users.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Sberbank Plans to Sell Fortenova in Two Years - Daily

ZAGREB, 5 June 2021 - Sberbank CEO Herman Gref has said the Russian bank's goal with Croatian conglomerate Fortenova Group is to increase its value and exit without losses in the next two years, as reported by the Moscow newspaper Vedomosti, the Jutarnji List daily reported on Saturday.

Gref was speaking about that at an international economic forum in Saint Petersburg and his announcement that Sberbank will sell its share in Fortenova within two years has been carried by Bloomberg, citing the Russian news agency RIA.

Sberbank was the biggest creditor of Croatia's now-defunct conglomerate Agrokor with €1.1 billion and now holds 44% in Fortenova Group, which was formed in April 2019 following a settlement reached by Agrokor's creditors.

Fortenova's consolidated revenue in 2020 totalled HRK 21 billion, while EBITDA was HRK 1.3 billion. It employs 50,000 people and is probably the biggest employer in the region.

Asked for a comment, Fortenova chairman of the board of directors Maksim Poletaev said on Friday that Gref's announcement was a continuation of what Sberbank had been saying since Agrokor was restructured and Fortenova Group was formed.

As a financial investor, Sberbank plans to sell its stake when the company's value grows, he added.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Croatian Fortenova Group and Cotrugli Business School Create Programme

May the 20th, 2021 - The Croatian Fortenova Group and the Cotrugli Business School have teamed up to create a special educational programme to further enhance the professional competence of the Fortenova Group's employees.

As Jutarnji list/Novac writes, as part of the programme to improve the knowledge and skills of its employees (DRIVE Beyond Excellence), the Croatian Fortenova Group, in partnership with experts from Cotrugli Business School, has developed the Navigate programme.

The programme is designed to strengthen the professional competencies of the Fortenova Group's employees so that they can invest in their own development, the strategic goals of the company and more easily overcome new business challenges.

The first generation of Navigate participants consists of 35 employees of the Croatian Fortenova Group and its operating companies. Through fourteen months of training, they will go through seven thematic units through which they will have the opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills, think about possible improvements in the company, gain new, practical organisational knowledge and, through all this, further mobilise their teams and organisations. An integral part of the programme is a specific project from the business of the Fortenova Group, on which participants will work with the sponsorship of one of the executive directors.

In order to adapt the entire programme as much as possible to the environment in the Croatian Fortenova Group and to the projects that take place in the operating companies, the content of the DRIVE programme for future participants will be designed based on feedback, suggestions and ideas from students who have already passed through it. Therefore, the participants from the first generation of the DRIVE programme will also be ambassadors of that programme in the future.

On the occasion of launching DRIVE Beyond Excellence educational programme, Fabris Perusko, CEO and Board Member of Fortenova Group said: "We want to be not only the largest but also the most desirable employer in the region with this significant investment in expanding the knowledge of our employees. We consider this to be one of the key elements in achieving this goal.

I personally believe that building systematic support that will enable talent, personal growth and development is extremely important for what kind of employer we'll be considered as, this also goes hand in hand with achieving all of our business goals. Through a structured approach to strengthening human resources, we're going to create new value for the company and contribute to the creation of a community, which is very important for achieving the ambitious business goals of the Fortenova Group.''

"Being an educational partner in this important project is an exceptional pleasure for us and we're looking forward to the realisation of all  of theset goals. This trust motivates us to, in accordance with the mission of the school, encourage our students in their continuous development in order to contribute to the development of their organisation and society as a whole,'' said Zoran Djordjevic, partner and academic director at the Cotrugli Business School.

For more, follow our business section.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Osijek-Baranja County Head Pleased with Agreement on the Sale of the Meggle Dairy Company

ZAGREB, Oct 28, 2020 - Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anusic said on Thursday that he is satisfied with the agreement on the sale of the Meggle dairy company, reached after months of negotiations between the Fortenova Group and Meggle's management in Osijek.

"When the news was announced in July that Meggle was leaving Croatia, aware that we could not change the management's decision, I called on Meggle's Croatian management for talks to find a way to retain the dairy tradition in Osijek and to save jobs. We held a meeting with interested companies at the Agriculture Ministry which launched these, now successfully completed negotiations based on which Belje Plus, a member of the Fortenova Group, has taken over the dairy," Anusic posted on his Facebook profile.

He underlined that as county prefect he could not influence business processes and decisions by companies doing business in the county but that he could extend a hand of cooperation to find the best possible solution,

Anusic believes that the example of Meggle has shown that mayors and county prefects can certainly contribute to resolving problems for all economic stakeholders who are prepared for talks.

"It is our duty to react, to cooperate and to connect businesses between themselves as well as with all levels of government. I congratulate the management of both companies for a job well done and wish Meggle's employees and subcontractors a lot of working days ahead in the dairy industry," said Anusic.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

TUI Takes Over Part of Fortenova Shares in Karisma Hotels Adriatic

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of September, 2020, the well known Fortenova Group and the world's leading integrated tourism group TUI have reached an agreement whereby TUI will take over a 33.3 percent stake of the shares belonging to the Fortenova Group in the holding company Karisma Hotels Adriatic that manages Hotels Kolocep, Hotels Zivogosce and Adriasense Zagreb.

The total capacity of the three modern, decorated four-star hotels is 589 rooms. Karisma Hotels Adriatic realised almost 350,000 overnight stays at its facilities last year, and guests were mostly from other European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia and France.

"As we have already pointed out, the Fortenova group has a clear strategy of focusing on core business in retail, food and agriculture and a less complex group overall, which will enable us to achieve a better return in the future. Therefore, we were looking for the right partners to take over and improve our business in the tourism sector.

As one of our partners in the ownership structure of Karisma Hotels Adriatic, TUI was a natural choice for the realisation of this transaction, because in addition to being an international tour operator, its activities within this group brought the largest number of guests to the hotels and camps, it also knows the business operations of Karisma Hotels Adriatic well and more importantly, it has an elaborate vision of the future for this business, and that is extremely important to us,'' said James Pearson, the main financial director of Fortenova Group.

The transaction will be formally concluded after the Competition Agency approves the Karisma Hotels Adriatic concentration to TUI.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Fortenova Group Reports Revenue Growth in 2019 and Q1 2020

ZAGREB, July 2, 2020 - The Fortenova Group, the successor to the Agrokor food and retail conglomerate, earned HRK 24.8 billion in non-consolidated revenues in 2019, an increase of 3.6% compared with 2018, and the good trend continued in the first quarter of 2020 when its non-consolidated revenues grew by 8%, the company said on Thursday.

Presenting the results of last year's operations to holders of depositary receipts, the Fortenova Group highlighted the growth of the two most important performance indicators in 2019 - total revenue and EBITDA, along with strong liquidity reserves thanks to which it entered the year 2020 with a cash position of HRK 1.6 billion.

The Fortenova Group's pro forma consolidated total revenue in 2019 reached almost HRK 24 billion, while consolidated adjusted EBITDA totalled almost HRK 1.7 billion. Given that the group has been operating since 1 April 2019, the presented results are the pro forma consolidated results of the Fortenova Group and the 102 companies in its ownership, excluding Mercator, the transfer of which to the Fortenova Group has not been completed yet.

The group's core segments generated a total of HRK 24.8 billion in non-consolidated revenues in 2019, an increase of 3.6% compared with 2018. At the same time, the non-consolidated EBITDA  of the core segments rose by 13% to HRK 1.9 billion.

All of the group's core segments saw their revenues grow in 2019. Retail and Wholesale generated total revenue of HRK 13.9 billion (+ 3%), Food earned HRK 8.27 billion (+4%), and Agriculture HRK 2.6 billion (+4%).

Fortenova said that the favourable business trends continued in the first quarter of this year, with consolidated revenues, excluding Mercator, reaching HRK 4.8 billion, while adjusted consolidated EBITDA amounted to HRK 93.6 million.

(€1 = HRK 7.563978)

Page 1 of 2