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New Supervisors Appointed at Mercator After Takeover by Agrokor

Ljubljana, 29 August (STA) - The shareholders of retailer Mercator, recently taken over by Croatian rival Agrokor, appointed on Friday a new supervisory board which mostly consists of senior Agorkor executives while also including Slovenian economics professor Matej Lahovnik, who was Mercator's chief supervisor until recently.

The meeting came just days before the expiry of Agrokor's bid for the remaining 47% stake in Mercator after the Croatian food group acquired 53% in June and after the supervisory board headed by Lahovnik stepped down at the beginning of this month.

Lahovnik will stay on and is being joined by Agrokor managers Damir Kuštrak, Ante Todorić, Ivan Crnjac, the CEO of Agrokor's grocer subsidiary Konzum Darko Knez, and the president of the Croatian Employers' Association Ivica Mudrinić.

The new supervisors were expected to meet immediately after the shareholders' meeting and could already pick the new chief supervisor.

The shareholders' meeting moreover brought a discharge of liability for 2013 for the supervisors and for the management led by Toni Balažič and changes to the statute that will allow representatives of creditor banks to attend meetings of the supervisory board.

Agrokor paid just over EUR 172m for a 53.12% stake in Mercator held by a consortium headed by brewer Pivovarna Laško in a deal closed on 27 June. It then went on to publish a takeover bid offering EUR 86 per share, which values the outstanding stake at EUR 152m.

Under a debt restructuring deal with creditor banks, the Croatian food group also secured Mercator a subordinate loan of EUR 220m for recapitalisation and working capital.

Mercator generated EUR 1.3bn in half-year sales revenue, a 4% drop compared to the same period a year ago, with operating profit at EUR 11.8m, up 4%.

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