Business News

A Quarter of Retailer Mercator to Be Put up for Sale

Lasko, 01 February (STA) - Indebted beverage group Pivovarna Lasko said on Tuesday it would issue a call for bids for its 23.34% stake in retailer Mercator, in what is a part of efforts to reduce the mountain of debt to manageable levels. The stake is worth EUR 135m at yesterday's closing price on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

The move, endorsed by the supervisory board on Monday, is in line with the company's strategy until 2014 which sees Lasko reducing debt from almost EUR 450m at the end of last year to EUR 160m by the end of this year.

Lasko has already published a call for bids for its 100% stake in Delo, the country's leading newspaper publisher, and it plans to divest soft-drinks maker Fructal this year.

In the first nine months of this year Lasko saw sales shrink by 6.5% year-on-year to EUR 239.9m. Net profit nearly halved to EUR 10m.

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