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Mercator Group Reduced Loss to EUR 27M Last Year

Ljubljana, 30 January (STA) - The group around Slovenia's biggest retailer Mercator generated EUR 2.8bn in sales revenues last year, 3.7% less than in 2012. It posted a EUR 26.8m loss, which is a significant improvement on the EUR 104m loss in the year before.

The Mercator group managed to halt the trend of decreasing profitability, stabilise the market share, reduce debt and carry out cost optimisation, the company's management commented on the results in a press release on Thursday.

The drop in sales revenues is attributed to the reduced consumption by households due to the economic crisis, structural changes in purchasing habits, and implementation of the restructuring plan.

Operating profit before amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to EUR 107.4m in 2013 and stabilised after years of decline. The group also paid back EUR 51m in debt to reduce net financial debt to below EUR 1bn, the management said.

According to chairman Toni Balažič, the key task in 2014 will be finalising the procedure of the sale of a 53% stake in Mercator to the Croatian rival Agrokor.

Chief supervisor Matej Lahovnik commented on the results, saying that Mercator managed to stabilise its operations despite the difficult situation on the market and the ongoing processes in the company.

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