International Players Enter Battle for Croatian Business Takeover

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of November, 2020, after receiving a series of non-binding takeover bids from Ledo Plus, Ledo Citluk and Frikom, which together with several smaller affiliates make up the Frozen Food Business Area, the Fortenova group decided to proceed to the next stage of sale. This represents a business takeover of enormous significance in Croatia.

“Market testing has confirmed that there is a strong international interest among potential investors in our frozen food business. All qualified non-binding offers come from companies with outstanding investment and operating achievements in the past. We’re happy to enter the in-depth recording process with several extremely strong potential partners,” said James Pearson, the CFO of the Fortenova Group.

“Our ultimate goal, in addition to maximising value, remains the selection of a strategic partner who will make the greatest contribution to the further development of the Frozen Food Business Group. Although we’re now entering the in-depth recording phase, the completion of the process still depends on finding a partner who will recognise the full value and potential of this business and its people,” said Fabris Perusko, the CEO and Board Member of the Fortenova Group when discussing this important business takeover process.

“In order to proactively achieve the targeted capital structure by reducing the company’s indebtedness, the Fortenova Group is ready to sell only one segment of its core business, which would potentially be the Frozen Foods Business Group. I expect that the in-depth recording process will be completed by the end of this year, and we’ll continue to inform our people and the market in a timely manner about the further development of these events,” concluded Perusko.

The future owners of Ledo Plus, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ledo Citluk and Serbia’s Frikom, and several other smaller affiliates will be sought between American, Norwegian and Czech investors, who obviously has great interest during the first phase of the process with some of the most attractive valuations in regard to this business takeover.

As has since been learned from well-informed investment circles, the American Nomad Foods (ie its European company), the Norwegian Orkla as major players in the food industry and the Czech private equity fund Emma Capital, which is also present in several different industries, all remain in the second round. Here in Croatia, the Czech private equity fund primarily connects with Super Sport, ie the betting business.

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