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Serbia's Nectar Acquires Further 4% in Fructal

Ajdovščina, 29 February (STA) - Serbian drinks and jam maker Nectar has acquired a further 4.06% of Fructal, raising its stake in the Slovenian drinks maker to 97.79%, according to the business daily Finance.

The latest acquisition comes after Nectar bought in December last year a 93.73% stake in the company from indebted beverage company Pivovarna Union.

Nectar was then required to publish a takeover bid for the remaining 6.3% of the company that was owned by small shareholders, including Fructal's current and former employees. Nectar offered EUR 15.03 for each of the 157,143 shares.

Pivovarna Union, which is part of the debt-ridden beverage group Pivovarna Lasko, sold Fructal on 25 July. The Serbian company also committed to take over the EUR 13m debt of Fructal and enable Lasko to reduce its debt by EUR 48m.

Nectar financed the takeover with EUR 7m of its own funds and loans taken from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Together with Fructal, which employs about 370 people, the company is expected to generate annual sales of around EUR 140m.

In the deal, Nectar had committed to continue to develop production at both Fructal's plants in Slovenia, in Ajdovscina and Kamnik, to buy fruit locally, to cooperate with the local community and to open markets in the former Yugoslavia and Europe.

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