With its Ruling dated 19th July 2022 the Commercial Court of Zagreb has established that with the legally effective amalgamation of 46 non-viable companies to the debtor Agrokor d.d. as transferee the Settlement Plan of Agrokor’s creditors shall be considered implemented and the Extraordinary Administration Procedure over the debtor Agrokor d.d. closed. One of the world’s major restructuring-through-bankruptcy proceedings, recognized as such on an international level, has thus been successfully completed, after having gained legal legitimacy in the European Union, United Kingdom, the USA and Switzerland. During the Extraordinary Administration Procedure the overindebted Agrokor, although in bankruptcy, continued its business with all operations and full employment having been preserved in the process. At that point the system employed over 50,000 people in SE Europe and its failure, due to its impact on thousands of associated companies, would have had severe negative consequences on the economies of Croatia and all countries of the region.
The Extraordinary Administration Procedure in Agrokor had commenced on 10th April 2017 and comprised a total of 77 Agrokor subsidiaries. The company’s total debt at that point amounted to HRK 56 billion, with a debt to operating profits ratio of around 30 times and only six kunas on its accounts. Within only a year’s time the Extraordinary Commissioner Fabris Peruško and his team normalized the operations and completed negotiations on the creditors’ settlement, and the Settlement Plan was adopted with over 80 percent of the creditors’ votes in July 2018 and declared final and non-appealable in October 2018.
The most important result of the Extraordinary Administration Procedure, besides the accomplished settlement and preserved business operations, was the fact that during the Procedure itself the debts to a total of 2400 micro and small suppliers were settled in full, while other creditors’ recoveries amounted to 60 percent on average. All payments to suppliers and the overall costs of stabilizing the collapsed operations were settled from Agrokor’s operations and assets, without spending any Croatian tax payers’ money. At the same time, the Extraordinary Administration Procedure received international legal protection and with the TMA Award the international financial industry declared it to be one of the world’s best restructuring processes in 2018.
With the cessation of Agrokor’s existence, the authorities and duties of Fabris Peruško in his capacity as Extraordinary Commissioner under Art. 12 of the Act on Extraordinary Administration Proceedings in Companies of Systemic Importance for the Republic of Croatia, i.e. his rights and obligations as the debtor’s administrative body and representation authority shall cease.
“We can rightfully be proud to have completed one of the most important economic processes ever to have taken place in Croatia, with impact on the entire region. It was a challenging and complex process; the scope of work was enormous and the deadlines short. During the very difficult settlement negotiations we had to reconcile the frequently diametrically opposed interests of the different creditors. In our attempts to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to everyone, we had to face tensions, renouncement and compromises. Finally, the high percentage of support provided by the creditors to the Settlement Plan at the hearing and everything that we have done thereafter in transforming the company towards Fortenova Group, bear witness to the fact that we have had the knowledge and the determination required to manage this complex process. The Government of the Republic of Croatia, the financial creditors, suppliers, employees, myself in the capacity as Commissioner and our entire team have exerted exceptional efforts for the Extraordinary Administration Procedure to secure viable operations for a company that had practically been bankrupt. This was the basic assumption for everything that we have done in the period of three and a half years since the incorporation of Fortenova Group, which we have brought to a point where it has five billion euros of revenue, a leverage ratio of less than 4 times and the status of one of the most desirable employers and major investor across the region. I would like to thank everyone who has made a personal constructive contribution to the Extraordinary Administration Procedure, the Government of the Republic of Croatia that had nominated me for the responsible task of the Extraordinary Commissioner and the Commercial Court of Zagreb that appointed me. I take particular pride in the fact that today, together with the team in which there are numerous colleagues who also took part in the Extraordinary Administration Procedure, I run a company that has, thanks to the positive changes, successfully overcome all the challenges that we have been faced with” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, on the occasion of closing the Extraordinary Administration Procedure and the completion of his role as Extraordinary Commissioner.
On 7th June 2022 Sergei Volk, Member of Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors, resigned from all positions held at Fortenova Group, whereby all his obligations in the governing bodies of Fortenova grupa d.d. and other Group companies have ceased.
At the same time, the company Open Pass Ltd proposed to the DR Holders’ Meeting to appoint Pavao Vujnovac as Member of Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors, while Damir Spudić has been proposed as Director of the Dutch structure companies, i.e. Fortenova Group HoldCo, MidCo and TopCo B.V. These proposals will be decided upon by the DR Holders at the Meeting.
“We would like to thank Mr. Volk for his personal engagement and his contribution to stabilizing Agrokor’s operations during the Extraordinary Administration, particularly in achieving the settlement among creditors, and then also to the strong development of Fortenova Group. We wish him a lot of professional and personal success going forward” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors.
Fortenova grupa d.d. and its operating companies Jamnica, Konzum, PIK Vrbovec and mStart have received the Employer Partner Certificate (Certifikat Poslodavac Partner – CPP), awarded by Selectio group. With this Certificate the experts of SELECTIO Group have since more than 15 years been comparing local HR practices with global trends, thus improving the standards in human resources management and promoting practices that set a model of excellence in HR.
In the HR analysis carried out at all levels of the organisation, Fortenova Group and its operating companies have scored excellent results, and the certificate has acknowledged the highest management quality in five key areas of human resources – Strategy, Recruiting and Selection, Performance Management, Training and Development and Relation to Employees.
“As many as five Croatian Fortenova Group members – Fortenova grupa, Jamnica, Konzum, mStart and PIK Vrbovec – have met all the criteria of the Employer Partner Certificate and constitute a true example of successful HR management that has continuously developed in all areas. The companies have conducted various internal compliance, climate and satisfaction surveys, and hence the Feedback 360 analysis has confirmed that the managers comply with organisational values and key competencies. Recruitment and selection activities are at premium level, while onboarding processes have stood out in terms of innovative practices and approach. Internal communication at all levels of the organisation is commendable and makes sure that the teams are well informed and it is interesting to note that some practices are a role model of excellence even at global level” – said Martina Kessler, Head of Organizational Development Solutions from SELECTIO Group.
„It is not without reason that our human resources strategy is a strong support to all important processes at Fortenova Group. Whatever we do internally is also reflected on our environment and given that Fortenova Group employs around 50000 people across the region, we largely also determine the way in which the region functions. This also implies the reverberation of our employee relationship in the entire Group, which is based on building a desirable and encouraging work environment where our colleagues will be content and motivated. With this approach we as a company spread the sense of security and optimism and actually indirectly contribute to bringing the negative demographic and migration trends that we have been faced with to a halt” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, at the Employer Partner Certificate awarding ceremony.
Quality HR management is reflected in the partnership relations between the employer and the employee and has over the last years constituted a crucial competitive advantage of contemporary organisations. In 2020 Fortenova Group had received the Excellence in Challenges acknowledgement, thus having proved its top-notch management of the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the successful completion of the certification process Fortenova grupa d.d. and its operating subsidiaries have joined the company of more than 100 corporations in Croatia that use the Employer Partner Certificate methodology to measure their success in managing human resources and to develop and improve HR practices.
“Since the very beginning of its operations Fortenova Group has been focused on its employees, on creating a quality work environment as well as on improving the rewarding system. This has all contributed to the excellent results achieved in this certification, and the fact that the certificate has been awarded to as many as five of our companies has affirmed the excellence that we strive for as a Group. The Certificate also imposes a responsibility to additionally improve the high level of partnership achieved with our employees in the forthcoming period” – said Gordana Fabris, Director of Human Resources at Fortenova Group.
Fortenova grupa d.d. has received the acknowledgement “Family Friendly Employer”, awarded for the fourth year in a row by the Central Government Office for Demographics and Youth to companies with best quality solutions in achieving a friendly atmosphere towards employees and their families, particularly taking into account the adjustment of the employers to employees’ families over the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2018, when it was awarded for the first time, this acknowledgement has established itself as an important public commendation to those employers whose relation to their employees stands witness to their socially responsible approach and also shows a diversity of solutions for creating a friendly and encouraging environment for employees and their families.
“At the company we have focused on our employees with children, by providing parents with certain benefits in those moments of life that are important to them. At the same time we are focused on the idea of projecting optimism, as we believe that the optimism that we build within our company also affects the broader society. Viewed in the context of the declining population, we think that what is missing in our society is optimism. It is important for us to support family life as well as optimism, because we believe that it is possible to create personal wealth, values and business success in our region and that people can feel good here” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer, on the occasion of the award presentation.
Gordana Fabris, Fortenova Group’s Director of Human Resources, noted that the wide array of benefits at Fortenova Group ranged from employee health care by way of covering additional health insurance costs, thru a number of measures supporting parenthood – flexible working hours and four-hour workdays for parents of children with special needs, the possibility of gradual return to work following maternity or parental leave, use of days off for the child’s first day at school or kindergarten – up to subsidized sporting activities for its employees.
“Fortenova Group’s commitment to building a community that places the focus on family values has been recognized by the Central Government Office for Demographics and Youth, which has awarded us the acknowledgement “Family Friendly Employer” for the year 2021. We are exceptionally proud of this valuable recognition, which is also an encouragement to keep focusing on the welfare of our employees even more” – Gordana Fabris said.
At the session of the Board of Directors held on 14 October 2019 the decision was made to relieve Irena Weber from duty as Executive Director at Fortenova Group and hence Mrs. Weber ceases to hold any office at Fortenova Group.
On this occasion Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group said: „I would like to thank Mrs. Weber for her exceptional contribution in achieving the settlement among Agrokor’s creditors and establishing the Fortenova Group, both as Deputy Extraordinary Commissioner and as Executive Director of the new company. Mrs. Weber bore a great deal of the burden in the exceptionally difficult process of concluding the Extraordinary Administration Procedure at Agrokor and made a significant contribution to its success. She also played an important role in the setup and organisation of Fortenova Group. I herewith extend my sincere gratitude to her, on my personal behalf and on behalf of all key stakeholders and I wish her lots of success in her future career on behalf of the Board of Directors.“