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Konzum Reportedly Wooing Lasko With Offer of Shelf Space

Lasko, 24 March (STA) - Croatian grocery chain Konzum, a part of the Agrokor group, has made an offer of commercial cooperation to Slovenian beverage group Pivovarna Lasko in what analysts view a part of Agrokor's effort to buy Lasko's 23.34% stake in Slovenian grocer Mercator.

The letter comes as Lasko continues its deliberations on three bids, including from Agrokor, for its minority holding in Mercator.

Business daily Finance says it is part of a strategy to convince Lasko to sell its Mercator shares.

As part of this, Agrokor is reportedly ready to increase its bid for Mercator to EUR 230 per share (currently EUR 206) and show greater openness to Slovenian suppliers.

A number of Slovenian products are already said to have found their way on Konzum's shelves, while the offer to Lasko would include a contract for the purchase of a large quantity of beer, Finance says.

Lasko said it had already studied the letter and invited representatives of Konzum to a meeting to discuss cooperation. The date of the meeting has not been disclosed.

Finance writes that Lasko is expected to take a decision on the bids for Mercator - apart from Agrokor, investment funds Mid Europa Partners and Warburg Pincus made offers - early next week.

While Agrokor is said to have made the highest bid, its offer has been met with broad skepticism in business and political circles for fear that it would move to gain control of Mercator, which is a vital distribution channel for Slovenian food producers.

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