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Lasko Publishes Call for Bids for 23% Stake in Mercator

Ljubljana, 04 February (STA) - Beverage group Pivovarna Lasko published on Friday in the daily Delo a call for binding bids for its 23.34% stake (878,840 shares) in retailer Mercator. The call for bids for the stake worth around EUR 136m at yesterday's closing price on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange runs out on 9 March.

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.

The core company Pivovarna Lasko is selling 317,498 shares in Slovenia's leading retailer Mercator, and its subsidiaries Pivovarna Union and Radenska are selling 464,390 and 96,952 shares, respectively.

Bidders must file binding offers for the purchase of at least 188,268 shares and have to present a bank guarantee valid until 30 April.

Unofficially, Pivovarna Lasko is in talks with financial fund Mid Europa Partners for the sale of the entire stake in Mercator.

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