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Mercator Generates EUR 16.5M in Net Loss in H1

Ljubljana, 23 August (STA) - Retailer Mercator generated a net loss of EUR 16.5m at the group level in the first half of the year on EUR 1.4bn in revenues. These rose 1% on the same period last year, while operating profit was down considerably to EUR 24.5m.

The result calls for serious and fast action, chairman Toni Balažič told reporters as the company released the figures on Thursday. He said the management's prime goal was to reverse the operations' trend and to make the company fit again.

"We must take action this year and maximise the yield for the shareholders. We are confident the Mercator share can be restored to the levels it had been in the past," Balažič asserted.

The comments came before trading opened on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange on Thursday. The Mercator share closed at EUR 115 on Wednesday, down 1.71% on the day before. The share hit its high watermark in September 2007 at well over EUR 300.

The chairman said the main reason for the loss was the adverse exchange rates, which contributed EUR 11m to the loss. He also blamed poor operations in the markets of Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania and worse-than-expected performance of certain divisions.

Mercator reported EUR 18.52m in net profit for the first half of 2011.

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