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Agrokor Deposits Mercator Purchase Money, Reports Say

Ljubljana, 27 June (STA) - Croatian food group Agrokor has deposited the proceeds for the majority stake in Slovenian grocer Mercator with the consortium of sellers, business daily Finance reported on Friday, a day after the takeover was finalised.

The proceeds were deposited into the accounts of the nine sellers of the 53% stake on Friday, after Agrokor set up a special account to finance the EUR 172m payment on Thursday, the report said quoting well-placed sources.

The biggest seller, beverage group Pivovarna Laško, which owns 23.3% of Mercator, was due to receive EUR 76m, while state-owned banks NLB and NKBM were due EUR 35m and EUR 16m each.

The other sellers are Gorenjska banka, Prvi faktor - Faktoring, Banka Koper, Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank, NFD investment firm, Banka Celje and NFD holding.

The Croatian food group will now have to publish a takeover offer for the remaining shares of Slovenia's top grocer.

In line with unofficial information about the takeover agreement, Agrokor is said to have paid EUR 86 per share for Mercator, which values Mercator at EUR 325m.

Additionally, the Croatian firm has committed to provide EUR 225m in capital to Mercator, of which EUR 200m will be used to pay down loans and EUR 25m for operating capital.

The closure of the takeover marks the end of more than five years of efforts by Laško to offload its stake as part of restructuring efforts.

It also marks more than three years of attempts by Agrokor to conclude the takeover, which will make it the biggest retailer in SE Europe.

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