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Mercator Continues to Restructure Loans

Ljubljana, 17 March (STA) - Grocer Mercator took new steps in its strategy of restructuring short-term obligations into long-term loans by drawing a fresh EUR 25m from a syndicated credit facility and striking a new EUR 58m loan deal with Deutsche Bank.

The deal with Deutsche Bank involves an assignable loan agreement, or Schuldschein, a loan common in Germany that is bilateral in nature and governed by German laws, Slovenia's top grocer said in a statement posted on the website of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

The loan, which is unsecured as per Mercator strategy of equal treatment of all creditors, has a three year maturity, with payment due in full at the end of this period.

Moreover, Mercator drew a fresh EUR 25m in an existing syndicated loan facility that now totals EUR 130m. The additional cash was provided by Austrian-based banks and like the Deutsche Bank loan is unsecured.

Mercator said the syndicated loan is split into two parts, with the first part due in full at maturity in three years and the second due in half-yearly instalments spread over five years.

Mercator stressed that neither loan represents fresh indebtedness and hailed the interest from the banks as showing that Mercator is trusted by the financial markets.

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