Lasko, 31 August (STA) - Beverage group Pivovarna Lasko posted a net profit of EUR 6.2m for the first half of the year, a drop of 37.8% over the same period last year, on sales that were down 6.7% to EUR 155.5m.
The company said in its interim report Tuesday that the figures were partly a result of factors beyond its control, including lower living standards due to the economic crisis and bad weather.
Volume sales were down 8.5% to 2.1 million hectolitres. Soft drinks, including water and juices, recorded the biggest drop, but beer, accounting for 44.3% of sales was less affected.
Lasko has been struggling with a mountain of debt after a failed management buyout attempted by the former boss, Bosko Srot.
At the end of June the group had financial liabilities of EUR 445.8m, the bulk of it bank loans. The management will attempt to reprogram short-term loans in talks with banks, if that fails assets will be sold off.
Faced with the debt burden, the supervisory board ordered the management Monday to start proceedings to offload all stakes in retailer Mercator that Pivovarna Lasko companies currently hold.
Companies in the Lasko group own 23.34% of Mercator, which is worth around EUR 117m at current market prices.
Lasko is already in the process of selling newspaper publishers Delo and Vecer.