Fortenova Group has completed the sale to Nomad Foods of the Frozen Food Business Group after receiving all regulatory approvals.
The Frozen Food Business Group comprises Ledo plus d.o.o. in Croatia, Ledo Čitluk in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Frikom d.o.o. in Serbia, as well as several related companies in other South East Europe markets and has a market leading portfolio of frozen food and ice cream brands enjoying a strong recognition among consumers in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a tradition of more than half a century.
“This major transaction has been closed one year after the Frozen Food Business Group divestment process was initiated in Fortenova Group, despite the project having been carried out under very challenging circumstances of the pandemic. We have worked hard and are proud of the fact that with this transaction we have met our most important goals in full. The achieved price of EUR 615m has acknowledged the value of our business and at the same time we have introduced a strategic partner to the region who will continue to develop the business and be focused on developing Ledo’s and Frikom’s iconic brands. We also expect Nomad Foods will be an important business partner for Fortenova’s regional retail business going forward. For Fortenova 2021 is becoming a transformational year. We have not only completed the refinance and transfer of Mercator, where we are delivering on planned synergies, we have also delivered on a successful summer season and now we have completed the planned sale of the Frozen Food Business Group, all of which are now resulting in Fortenova having a substanitally stronger capital structure.” – said Fabris Peruško, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Fortenova Group, thanking all employees of the Frozen Food Business Group for the contribution that they have with their work built into the operational success of their respective companies. “We wish them all the best with the new partners and hope for their success in the future, which they truly deserve” – Peruško added.
“In 2021, besides the refinance and transfer of Mercator, the delivery on all our plans in the summer season, where all our businesses and Divisions have delivered excellent operational results both in profit and cash, and the sale of the Frozen Food Business Group, Fortenova has also completed its program of non-core divestments and achieved numerous operational improvements to our businesses, all of which are contributing to the improvement of our financial metrics. In respect of this transaction, we will use the funds from the sale of the Frozen Foods Business Group to immediately repay debt and as a result we will be significantly deleveraging the company. With clear and continued delivery on our plans in 2021, Fortenova can now look forward with real confidence to the future as this Frozen Food transaction step changes our financial position and capital structure and will allow us to invest and grow our very strong businesses in the coming years. Finally, I would also like to thank our friends and colleagues in all companies in the Frozen Food Business Group for their skill, commitment, and hard work during the time when they were part of Fortenova Group.” – said James Pearson, CFO of Fortenova Group.
Fortenova Group has closed the divestment of the Aviva Polyclinic, one of Croatia’s leading polyclinics, to the investment company Provectus Capital Partners (PCP). Aviva Polyclinic is a selected healthcare provider for private patients, companies and insurers, offering a wide range of services for its more than 40,000 users in the areas of prevention, diagnostics, medical treatment and rehabilitation. The Polyclinic has a tradition of more than 40 years and is also one of the country’s largest private polyclinics with over 80 employees.
Provectus Capital Partners is an investment company focusing on the markets of Southeast Europe, which has acquired the Aviva Polyclinic through ASEF (Adriatic Structured Equity Fund). Aviva Polyclinic is PCP’s third investment in Croatia.
PCP will continue to invest in the operational growth of Aviva, which will take center stage in the company’s further plans towards consolidating the private sector healthcare in Croatia.
”The private healthcare sector in Croatia has a significant growth potential in the years to come, and with the acquisition of Aviva we have gained a quality position and the key know-how for the continuation of our investments, with a view to consolidating the healthcare sector. We are committed to Aviva’s further development and new investments in order to secure the maximum added value both for our users and our employees and thus improve and secure high-quality sustainable operations and sustainable value for Aviva itself in the long term”, said Igor Čičak, President of the Management Board and Lead Partner at PCP.
Commenting on the transaction, James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Executive Director of Finance, said: “Through the collaboration with Provectus Capital Partners, Fortenova Group has secured a high-quality strategic and financial partner and enabled the further development and realization of Aviva Polyclinic’s full potential, all to the benefit of its patients, suppliers and hard-working employees, whom we would particularly like to thank for their contribution”.
Fabris Peruško, Member of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group, pointed out on that occasion: “With this transaction Fortenova Group is about to successfully complete the entire process of divesting its non-core businesses. We are very happy with the realization of the project overall, as we were able to find high-quality partners for all our non-core companies, that will develop their future operations. At the same time, this will enable Fortenova Group to create a focused portfolio and strengthen its capital structure.”
The programme devised by Fortenova Group and Selectio involves almost 100 Fortenova Group employees
Fortenova Group started the implementation of the Accelerate programme – the second group programme within the DRIVE Beyond Excellence project, developed to improve the knowledge and skills of Fortenova Group employees in the long term.
Following the commencement of education for the first generation within the Navigate programme, another 98 employees, recognized for their development and career advancement potential by assuming more responsible managerial positions within Fortenova Group and its operating companies, have entered the Accelerate programme.
Their education focuses on acquiring a number of new competencies and knowledge in various operational areas. The programme has been developed in cooperation with the Selectio Group, Croatia’s leading human resources consultancy.
Through eight modules the attendees will gain insight in the areas of finance, supply chains, sales, building customer relations or comprehensive project management, with particular emphasis on strengthening the skills in team leadership, recognizing specific personal traits of team members and encouraging their creativity, agility and inclination to thinking outside the box.
The education is intended to improve the students’ managerial skills and strengthen the overall level of employee competencies and efficiency by transfer of the acquired knowledge to their teams, thus contributing to the atmosphere of togetherness, collaboration and sharing, fostered by Fortenova Group in its work environment.
“Supporting the development of our employees’ professional competencies is in our common interest. Besides strengthening the employees’ personal potential and additionally motivating them in overcoming new business challenges, we herewith also significantly contribute to Fortenova Group’s more successful operations overall, which is particularly important in an environment that requires continuous adjustments and change management” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors at the kick-off of the Accelerate programme, while Aleksandar Zemunić, Director of the company Selectio, pointed out that they were delighted to be Fortenova Group’s partner in implementing such a comprehensive and ambitious development programme.
“We believe that with the expertise of our consultants and educators Fortenova Group employees will realize their potentials more easily and we are pleased to have the opportunity to support them on that journey” – he said on that occasion.
“Our goal is for the group skill development programmes within the scope of the DRIVE Beyond Excellence project to involve around 220 Fortenova Group and operating company employees in the first year and we are very happy that the first two generations of employees have already started their education as part of the project. We believe that securing the conditions for personal and professional growth and development is the strongest lever in strengthening the Group’s overall human resources and the best response to any business challenge” – said Gordana Fabris, Director of Fortenova Group’s Human Resources.
In 2020 Fortenova Group performed well despite the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted April – December of 2020 business operations. The COVID-19 impact was particularly felt in Croatia given the size of tourism in the country. The Group maintained or even increased its market shares in a number of key product categories, realized several key strategic projects and due to the implemented preventive measures, alleviated the impact of the crisis and increased its cash liquidity by HRK ~350 million, to an amount of HRK 2 billion at year end.
Those were the basic features of the 2020 operations highlighted in the presentation of the 2020 results held for Fortenova Group’s DR holders.
Fortenova Group’s total consolidated revenue from continuing operations for the year amounted to HRK 21 billion, while the total consolidated adjusted EBITDA amounted to HRK 1.3 billion.
Compared to the 2019 pro forma consolidated results of Fortenova Group, net of the results of the discontinued operations Kompas Ljubljana, Kompas Poreč and the entire Kompas network for both periods, Fortenova Group’s total consolidated revenue was 11.7 per cent lower, while on the thus adjusted basis consolidated EBITDA was 30.1 per cent lower. The announced 2020 results are net of Mercator, which will be integrated into Fortenova Group in 2021.
“The COVID-19 pandemic left a trail on everything, including the operating results of our companies. It had the strongest negative effect on those companies that are closely related to the tourist industry and the HORECA channel. Also, the markets where the tourist season has a strong impact on the GDP, such as Croatia and Montenegro, were hit more severely. Serbia, for example, has not felt the consequences of the weak tourist season, but the market was faced with all the other consequences of the pandemic. Nevertheless, our companies successfully met and even outperformed their 2020 plans, which had been corrected last year in view of the pandemic and envisaged lower results than those in 2019” – said Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group and Member of the Board of Directors, commenting on the 2020 results.
Comparing the non-consolidated results of core businesses including 16 companies in the retail, food and agriculture divisions of Fortenova Group with their 2019 performance, the 2020 non-consolidated total revenues in the amount of HRK 23 billion were six per cent lower, while EBITDA in the amount of HRK 1,6 billion was 16.8 per cent lower.
The pandemic had the strongest negative effect on the operations of the Food Division companies that are directly linked to the HORECA channel and the consumption during the tourist season, as well as the Retail and Wholesale Division. Consequently, both their non-consolidated revenues and EBITDA were lower than in the year before. Non-consolidated total revenue of the Food Division was nine per cent lower than in 2019, while the non-consolidated revenue of Retail decreased by five per cent. The non-consolidated revenue of the Agriculture Division was only one per cent lower compared to 2019.
The non-consolidated EBITDA of Food was 12.5 per cent lower compared to the 2019 performance, while in Retail the drop amounted to 6.5 per cent. Due to the negative impact of the major drop in pig prices in Q4/2020, the drop in cattle prices and lower yields of agricultural crops, EBITDA in Agriculture was lower by 56.8 per cent compared to the year before.
Nevertheless, both Dijamant and Frikom also performed strongly as they not only gained share but benefitted from increased consumption in Serbia with COVID-19 restrictions limiting travel from the country. Also, despite the lack of tourists, Konzum was on a like-for-like basis able to keep its 2020 retail sales above 2019 by 0,3 per cent, as it performed well in manging its supply chain and benefited from its store format and on-line offer.
“As Konzum generates around 40 per cent of its total revenues and around 70 per cent of its annual EBITDA in the four months from June to September, the results achieved in 2020 are excellent, indeed. Looking at the entire Fortenova Group, the overall negative effect of the pandemic and non-cash foreign exchange losses could unfortunately not be compensated, but given the projects that we have initiated, we expect a performance improvement already in 2021. A refinancing of Fortenova Group’s debt at more favourable conditions is planned to take place in the period of the next two years and will additionally strengthen the company’s financial position” said James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Executive Director for Finance.
“We are satisfied with the 2020 operating performance due to, among other things, the implementation of a number of measures intended to alleviate the negative effects of the pandemic, as well as additional improvements achieved in our business operations and cost control. In spite of the crisis caused by the pandemic, by exerting exceptional efforts and with increased costs related to the health preservation of our people and to securing an uninterrupted supply chain for the market under the conditions of the crisis, we were able to realize several development projects, too. Last year we acquired the assets of Meggle’s Osijek-based dairy plant and have now recently launched the new Kravica Kraljica dairy brand. Furthermore, Jamnica’s investments in development resulted in the launch of the new product Botanica last year, and of Barts – the first alcoholic sparkling water in Croatia – this year, which is now building distribution. Further new product launches, upgrades and improvements will be appearing from our other food businesses as we go through this year and complete the development work done in 2020.
Looking ahead, two major projects that will positively affect our results in 2021, are the divestment of the Frozen Food Business and the integration of Mercator. We are also hoping that this year’s tourist season will be better than last year’s, ahead of a full tourist season returning in 2022. What cannot be seen directly in these results, is the engagement of all our employees in making the business run smoothly under the crisis circumstances and in meeting all plans set. I would like to sincerely thank all Fortenova Group employees for that, as it really made an impact.
Through 2020 and already in 2021 Fortenova management team has delivered on a number of key projects specifically managing the impact of COVID-19, completing the transfer of Mercator and fixing its capital structure through the sale of the Frozen business, which puts the Group into a fundamentally stronger position going forward.” – Fabris Peruško said.
Konzum, Jamnica and PIK Vrbovec become official sponsors to HNS
The Croatian Football Association (Hrvatski nogometni savez – HNS) and Fortenova Group have joined forces and thus one of Southeast Europe’s largest companies has become sponsor to HNS and the current Vice World Champions
Fortenova Group has thus become General Sponsor to the Croatian Football Association, while three companies from its portfolio – Konzum, Jamnica and PIK Vrbovec will be official sponsors to the HNS. The Sponsorship Agreement for the next four years was signed by Davor Šuker, President of HNS and Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group, as well as Zoran Mitreski, Dario Šalić and Slaven Ružić, Heads of Konzum, Jamnica and PIK Vrbovec, respectively. Pursuant to the Agreement, Jana becomes the official water of the national football team and of HNS.
“We are proud to be the General Sponsor of the Croatian Football Association for the years to come. The national football team is one of the symbols of Croatia and one of the world’s best ranking national teams, with numerous sporting successes. Success and excellence are the very values that Fortenova Group as one of the leading companies in Southeast Europe is guided by. At the same time, as Croatia’s strong and recognizable brands, our operating companies Konzum, Jamnica and PIK Vrbovec have become official sponsors to The Ardent (‘Vatreni’), yet another strong Croatian brand and an important promotor of Croatia worldwide.
It is my particular pleasure that this sponsorship also includes the socially responsible project of building ten football fields in different parts of Croatia. Thus we shall, together with HNS, encourage the youngest population to engage in sports and make an important contribution to the local communities in which we operate. I wish HNS and The Ardent lots of new sporting successes and medals and particularly look forward to rooting at the European Football Championship matches, as well as at the 2022 World Championship” – said Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group.
Fortenova Group is one of the region’s leading companies and one of its largest employers, operating in three core businesses: retail, food and agriculture. In all of its core businesses and in most of the countries of its operations, Fortenova Group is a strong market competitor with a large portfolio of brands in leading market positions.
“I am proud that we have signed the agreement with one of the most important companies in this part of Europe, which confirms our commitment to seeking the best partners for the Croatian football. Just as football is the flagship of Croatian sports, Fortenova Group and its companies are key for the Croatian economy and it seems only natural to me for us to be strong partners. I would like to thank Mr. Peruško and the heads of Fortenova Group companies for having recognized the international value of our football and I am convinced that this cooperation will bring lots of benefits, successes and victories to both sides, on the green field and beyond” – said Davor Šuker, President of HNS.
At the Meeting of Holders of Depositary Receipts issued by Fortenova Group STAK Stichting, held today in the Netherlands, the shareholders have voted in favour of all the decisions proposed, among others those regarding the consolidation of Fortenova Group’s operations related to the transfer of shares of Poslovni sistem Mercator from Agrokor to Fortenova Group. Thus Fortenova Group has received approval to extend the existing financial arrangement with HPS Partners and VTB Bank by the amount of not more than EUR 390 million, to be used as a loan from Fortenova Group to Mercator intended to refinance Mercator’s bank debt.
The shareholders have also adopted the decision to swap the shares held by Sberbank in Mercator for Fortenova Group shares, whereby the 18.53 per cent of Mercator shares owned by Sberbank shall be transferred to Fortenova Group. At the same time, with this swap Sberbank’s share in Fortenova Group’s ownership rises to 44 per cent.
Given that on 5th March 2021 the Competition Protection Commission of the Republic of Serbia approved the intention of Fortenova Group to acquire control over the company Poslovni sistem Mercator d.d., Ljubljana on the market of the Republic of Serbia, all the remaining key prerequisites for the soon to be effected transfer of shares of Poslovni sistem Mercator to Fortenova Group have been met.
„I would like to thank the shareholders who have recognized the importance of the proposed decisions for the future of Fortenova Group and with their votes provided support for the realization of plans intended to strengthen our operations and affirm our position as the largest employer in South and Southeast Europe. With this shareholder decisions and last week’s approval of the Serbian regulator there are no formal obstacles any more for Mercator to become part of Fortenova Group by the end of this month. There work ahead of us now is related to closing arrangements and contracts to put the decisions of the Assembly into practice. In the previous period we have prepared the detailed steps that will now be operationalized and whereby we shall, as already announced on several occasions, proceed with consolidating the company on several levels – in intragroup ownership, Group crediting and last but not least in retail across the region. We will thus finally be able to start using all the synergic benefits and strengthen our positions in retail on all markets. The transfer of Mercator is also the conclusion of all remaining obligations from the creditors’ Settlement Plan, marking, to my personal satisfaction, the successful closing of the Extraordinary Administration Procedure at Agrokor after exactly four years” – said Fabris Peruško, Member of the Board of Directors and CEO of Fortenova Group.
Regarding other important decisions adopted at the Assembly, the shareholders approved the appointment of Roman Goltsov, Daniel Gusev and Damir Spudić as non-executive members of Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors.
Roman Goltsov is currently Senior Managing Director, Head of the Structured Finance division within the Corporate Lending Department of Sberbank. In this role he directly leads execution teams for various complex restructuring, project finance and acquisition finance transactions. Along with the financial expertise, he is also an expert in oil and gas operations, having spent much of his career on projects in this sector around the world.
Daniel Gusev is managing partner in Gauss Ventures, a European-US Venture Capital firm. He is a seasoned entrepreneur in financial services innovations, having lead product development projects in fintech startup firms and worked as consultant and head of numerous design-driven projects in financial institutions.
Damir Spudić is Member of the Management Board and CFO of Energia naturalis (ENNA) and CFO at ENNA Group, responsible for planning, implementing, managing and running all finance activities. He is also Member of the Supervisory Board of Pevex d.d. and Luka Ploče d.d. and participated in the financial stabilization and successful restructuring of Petrokemija d.d. He joined ENNA Group in 2012.
With the appointment of the new Members to the Board of Directors, the resignation of Miodrag Borojević from the position as Non-Executive Member of the Board of Directors has become effective and hence his obligations in other governing bodies of individual Fortenova Group operating companies have ceased as well.
At the Depositary Receipt Holders’ Meeting of Fortenova Group, convened for Friday, 12th March 2021, the shareholders will vote on several decisions important for the business consolidation of Fortenova Group, the largest private employer in Croatia and several countries of the region and one of the largest private companies of South and Southeast Europe. The key decisions to be made by the shareholders are related to the transfer of shares of Poslovni sistem Mercator from Agrokor to Fortenova Group and if adopted, these decisions will provide Fortenova Group with the approval to extend the existing financial arrangement with HPS Partners and VTB Bank by the amount of up to EUR 390 million, to be used as a loan from Fortenova Group to Mercator for the purpose of refinancing Mercator’s bank debt.
The shareholders will also decide on swapping the shares held in Mercator by Sberbank for shares in Fortenova Group. Should the share swap be approved, 18.53% of Mercator shares owned by Sberbank will be transferred to Fortenova Group. At the same time, with that swap Sberbank’s ownership share in Fortenova Group would increase to 44 per cent. With the adoption and realization of these decisions and upon receiving regulatory approval for the concentration of Mercator and Fortenova Group on the market of Serbia, all key prerequisites pending for the soon to be realized transfer of shares of Poslovni sistem Mercator to Fortenova Group would be met.
Besides the decisions related to Mercator, the shareholders will also decide on strengthening Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors which, provided the proposal is accepted and adopted, will comprise three new non-executive members – Roman Goltsov, Daniel Gusev and Damir Spudić, experts with extensive international experience whose qualities, knowledge and professional expertise could significantly contribute to the achievement of Fortenova Group’s business goals. At the same time, with the vote on the appointment of new BoD Members, the resignation of Mr. Miodrag Borojević from his position as Non-Executive Member of the BoD shall become effective.
“We would like to thank Mr. Borojević for his contribution to the work of the Board of Directors over the last two years and wish him success in his further professional career” – said Maksim Poletaev, Chairman of Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors. With the adoption of the decision on the appointment of new members Mr. Borojević shall cease to be Member of the BoD and his obligations in the governing bodies of individual Group companies shall cease therewith as well.
“The Assembly ahead of us is very important, as the shareholders will vote on decisions important for our operations in various aspects. First of all, by adopting the proposed decisions related to Mercator the last remaining elements of the Settlement Plan among Agrokor’s creditors shall be met. I am personally particularly pleased that this will formally close all obligations arising from the Settlement Plan, exactly three years after I accepted the challenge of running the Extraordinary Administration Procedure of Agrokor under complex circumstances. With the adoption and delivery of the Assembly’s decisions the ownership within the Group will be consolidated, the new financing will consolidate the credit position as well and therewith we will meet all prerequisites for the consolidation of our retail operations across the region and the strengthening of our position in that industry. Provided that the shareholders adopt the proposed decisions next Friday, I believe that the transfer of Mercator shares will be closed by the end of the month”, said Fabris Peruško, Member of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group.
In moments like this our strength lies in our togetherness. The whole of Croatia is on its feet, collecting help for the casualties.
All Fortenova Group companies have already collected the first intervention consignment with the most important food items in the first hours following the earthquake and sent trucks to Petrinja. Among others, Jamnica sent two trucks with over 40 pallets of water.
The humanitarian drive collecting help at Fortenova Group will continue in the days to come, based on a list of crucial supplies as provided by the Red Cross, with the participation, coordination and logistic support of Konzum and with the following Fortenova Group companies taking part as well: Belje, PIK Vrbovec, Zvijezda, Jamnica, Ledo, Roto, mStart, Agrolaguna, Roto dinamic and other Fortenova Group companies.
We herewith invite everyone who can and wants to, to join in and show those in need that we are there for them!
On Tuesday, 29th September 2020, the process of registering the company Idea and its affiliated companies in Serbia to Fortenova Group was concluded. The procedure of transferring Idea’s assets from Agrokor to Fortenova Group has thus been formally completed.
Seized Mercator shares have to be returned to Agrokor
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia passed a judgement pursuant to which the shares of Mercator, that were by decision of the Public Competition Agency of the Republic of Slovenia (Javna agencija Republike Slovenije za varstvo konkurence – AVK) temporarily seized late last year, have to be returned to Agrokor without delay.
The State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Slovenia had filed a request for the protection of lawfulness with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia whereby the State Attorney’s Office essentially stated that the Slovenian AVK, by seizing the Mercator shares from Agrokor, had acted unlawfully. With its final and non-appealable judgement the Supreme Court has confirmed such claim and changed AVK’s decision, thus halting the procedure that AVK had brought against Agrokor, in which the Mercator shares were seized. The Supreme Court has thus enabled Agrokor to freely dispose of the shares.
The Supreme Court declared the seizure of shares to be unlawful, argueing that AVK had no legal grounds to issue a ruling to seize the shares. In particular, Item 5 of Art. 201 of the Slovenian Misdemeanor Act stipulates that the decision to seize property can be made if there is a »concern that the perpetrator may hide or travel abroad during the infringement proceedings or prior to the execution of the decision«. The Supreme Court established that it was conceptually impossible for a legal person to »hide, travel to an unknown location or abroad« and that there were no substantive legal grounds to seize the shares from Agrokor. The judgement indicates that, by passing the unlawful seizure decision, AVT completely wrongfully applied Art. 201 of the Slovenian Misdemeanor Act, the goal and intention whereof solely apply to natural persons for whom there is a possibility to »hide or travel to an unknown location«. For those reasons, the Supreme Courts states, Mercator shares have to be returned to Agrokor without any further delay.
This judgement of the Supreme Court provides for the return of property to Agrokor slightly more than a month after the Court Okrajno sodišče of Ljubljana already altered AVK’s decision on the amount of the fine and reduced the original amount of as much as EUR 53.9m to EUR 1m, explaining that not having reported the concentration was not the result of the »intention to bypass the concentration filing in order to cause possible harmful effects on market competition«, but was rather »the result of negligence of the responsible person Ivica Todorić«. Due to the fact that the court has not accepted all arguments, Agrokor appealed against this decision to the High Court of Ljubljana and has continued to apply legal means to refute the argumentation used by AVK in establishing the alleged breach of provisions.
Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group, to which the Mercator shares are to be transferred, said: »We welcome the judgement of the Supreme Court, which shows that by protecting lawfulness, key institutions also improve the investment climate in Slovenia. We expect for the free disposal of shares to be made possible within shortest time and are still planning to realize the transfer of Mercator shares to Fortenova Group by the end of this year.«
Peruško also used the occasion to reiterate that transferring Mercator to Fortenova Group as soon as possible was primarily in the direct interest of Slovenia’s largest retail chain, its suppliers and the entire economic environment in Slovenia. »Due to its multiplying effect on the economy, Mercator is a company of systemic importance for the Slovenian economy. By the transfer from Agrokor, a company in bankruptcy, Mercator will find itself in the ownership of the stable and capital-strong Fortenova Group, whose ultimate goal is to make Mercator a strong local-supplier-oriented regional retailer«, Peruško said, concluding: »As already stated several times, in Mercator as part of Fortenova Group the entire Slovenian economy will gain a financially strong and stable partner and buyer of its goods. The cooperation with local suppliers and the maintenance and development of shorter supply chains is one of the key determinants of Fortenova Group’s regional retail development strategy and constitutes an important competitive advantage. After the Mercator shares are transferred to Fortenova Group, the local suppliers can therefore continue to count on their position at Mercator.«
14 July 2020 – Fortenova Group’s DR Holders have today at the General Assembly meeting voted in favor of changes in the Group’s Board of Directors by adopting the resolution to approve the acceptance of resignations of two of its members – Mr. Alexander Torbakhov and Mr. Paul Foley.
Mr. Torbakhov’s resignation has been prompted by the fact that he has been appointed the CEO of a major Russian telecommunications company VimpelCom.
Mr. Foley has decided to focus cooperation with Fortenova Group fully on its retail operations through the roles of a member of Supervisory Boards of Mercator in Slovenia and Konzum plus in Croatia, that he already holds. Mr. Foley is also expected to become the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Konzum, thus putting to best use his lifelong experience in the retail industry.
On 9th January 2020, Agrokor received the second instance judgment of the Commercial Court of Belgrade dismissing Agrokor’s appeal and confirming the first instance judgment of 8th March 2019, ordering Agrokor to pay to the plaintiff Banca Intesa ad, Belgrade, the amount of EUR 15.2m plus interest and to settle the costs of the litigation procedure. Pursuant to the first instance judgment, that has now become final and non-appealable, Banca Intesa Belgrade can try to institute enforcement proceedings over the assets of Agrokor in Serbia.
Agrokor shall continue to fight by legal means given that Banka Intesa Beograd already recovered has already happened its entire claim in question in accordance with Agrokor’s creditors’ Settlement Plan by having received equity and debt securities, in particular depositary receipts in the nominal amount of EUR 1.34m and convertible bonds in the nominal amount of EUR 5.4m, whereby it has become co-owner of Fortenova Group holding a 0.5 per cent share.
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