Business News

Agrokor Yet to Decide Whether to Bid for Mercator

Ljubljana, 14 October (STA) - Croatian food and retail group Agrokor is yet to decide whether to place a non-binding bid for a majority stake in Slovenia's no. 1 grocer Mercator, a senior Agrokor manager said in Ljubljana on Friday.

"We are monitoring, analysing, preparing. We have a long weekend ahead," Damir Kustrak, the executive vice-president for export markets, told reporters on the margins of the FDI Summit 2011 investment conference.

Agrokor sees a possible merger with Mercator as a "positive story" considering that both groups have presence on the markets of SE Europe.

Noting that only big companies can succeed in certain industries, he said a merger would "create a big regional company that could then make a nice strategic plan for the future."

Just over 50% of Mercator owned by beverage group Pivovarna Lasko and several banks is up for sale. Non-binding bids are due by Monday, 17 October.

Media reports suggest bids have so far only been placed by financial firms, among them the private equity funds Mid Europa, Warburg Pincus and TPG.

Agrokor, which had mounted several unsuccessful attempts at taking over Mercator before, is reportedly the only strategic investor interested in buying Mercator.

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