Will Sberbank Sell Its Stake in Agrokor?

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, January 25, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday he had no information that Russia’s Sberbank planned to sell its stake in Croatia’s Agrokor conglomerate in the first half of this year.

Sberbank vice president Alexander Vedyakhin said yesterday, according to Russian news agencies, that the bank planned to sell its stake in Agrokor in the first half of 2019 and that negotiations with interested buyers were under way.

Sberbank is Agrokor’s biggest creditor and, under last year’s settlement, its biggest shareholder with a 39.2% interest.

“There’s no long-term logic in someone whose business is banking co-owning a company whose business is agriculture, food and retail,” Plenković said in Davos. “But for now, we have no information about a sale.”

To the government it is important that the settlement be carried through, that Agrokor functions and that people are employed, he added.

On the fringes of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Plenković met with Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdić, which was their first meeting after last October’s general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Plenković said they talked about government formation in BiH, a reform of its election law, as part of which he said Croat equality was key, and Croatia’s support for reforms aimed at bringing BiH closer to the European Union.

Commenting on the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action motion for assessing the constitutionality of the Bosnian Serb entity’s name, Republika Srpska, and Bosnian Serb official Milorad Dodik’s response to that and threats that the entity would separate from BiH, Plenković said Croatia wanted peace and stability in its neighbourhood. “We don’t look favourably on initiatives that can bring that in question.”

Dodik has made similar statements before, “but it’s important that everyone does the part they have in line with their authority,” he said, adding that Croatia respects BiH’s territorial integrity.

Speaking of today’s meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Plenković said Croatia was following the turbulence in British politics related to Brexit. “We see that Prime Minister May is fighting to reach a kind of consensus in parliament for the adoption of the withdrawal deal, but the prospects aren’t rosy.”

A no-deal Brexit would be the worst scenario and everything should be done to avoid it, Plenković said. “Ireland has certain red lines which it has highlighted, i.e. the backstop option to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. That’s vital to them and everybody in the EU understands it,” he said, reiterating that the ball is in London’s court.

More news on Agrokor can be found in the Business section.


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