Sberbank Sells Fortenova Stake to Hungarian Indotek Group

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Screenshot/Fortenova Grupa
Screenshot/Fortenova Grupa

As Jutarnji/Novac/Andrea Koscec writes, the Russian Sberbank has sold its 43 percent stake in the Fortenova Group to a Hungarian investment fund called Indotek Group, majority owned by one of the richest Hungarians of all, Daniel Jellinek, Bloomberg reported, and soon after, Fortenova confirmed the information on its website.

The price involved hasn’t yet been announced, but it was pointed out that in order to conclude the transaction, it was necessary to provide solutions from the competent regulatory authorities across several markets.

In mid-March, Jutarnji list reported that it had “started an in-depth analysis process related to the possible sale of shares within the company” and then announced that Jellinek, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of around 300 million euros, was interested. It was speculated back then, although such processes usually take months, that given the development of the situation in Ukraine and the obvious interest of Sberbank to get out of ownership in Fortenova, an agreement could be reached long before it would otherwise be expected. A spokesman for Daniel Jellinek told Bloomberg that Jellinek sees the deal as a long-term investment, and Indotek will be a strategic partner of the Fortenova Group.

On the occasion of the signing of the sales contract and the announced change of ownership, Fabris Perusko, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of the Fortenova Group, welcomed the entry of Indotek into the ownership structure, which he said recognises as a long-term strategic partner in the co-ownership of Fortenova.

”Despite a possible change in co-ownership, the Fortenova Group continues to operate on a regular basis. Our operating companies are successfully managing market disruptions caused by rising operating costs and disruptions in some supply chains that our many customers aren’t feeling and we’re fully focused on preparing for this year’s season from which we have significant expectations,” said Perusko.

The Hungarian Indotek Group manages assets worth more than three billion euros in total, and according to its website, Indotek is a financial conglomerate owned by Hungarian and American investors, with a diversified business in real estate, financial services, but also logistics and transportation. The company employs 380 people, is headquartered in Budapest and has 12 branches across the country, as well as its own offices in Spain, Italy, Romania, Poland, Greece and here in Croatia.

Indotek has now become Fortenova’s largest single shareholder, but – like the Russian Sberbank has been so far – it will have to seek the consent of the two remaining major shareholders – Pavle Vujnovac, the owner of Enna Group, and Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank, which holds a seven percent stake in Fortenova, and is currently sanctioned.

The Fortenova Group is otherwise the largest food trader and producer in Southeastern Europe, and was formed after the settlement of the former Agrokor’s creditors back in April 2019. Its financial situation has improved significantly over more recent years, as evidenced by its debt-to-operating ratio (EBITDA). It employs about 50,000 people.

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