Ministerial Summit on Agrokor Held Without Croatia

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Ministers from Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina meet to discuss the Agrokor case. Interestingly, Croatian representatives were not invited.

Ministers of trade and economy of Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina met on Wednesday in Belgrade to discuss Agrokor’s problems. They decided to form a ministerial team to communicate on a daily basis in order to exchange information and take joint measures to preserve jobs, protect the interests of Agrokor’s suppliers and ensure stable business operations for companies from the group which operate in these countries, reports on April 20, 2017.

According to a statement after a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, the ministers agreed that that in future each of these countries will monitor financial and trading operations of companies connected with Agrokor. The ministers also expressed their readiness ti talk with representatives of the Croatian government to stabilize the group.

The ministers expect that the Agrokor’s commissioner, who has been appointed by the Croatian government, will name independent experts to successfully restructure the companies which are part of the group, said the ministers in a statement. There is also strong expectation that the new Agrokor management will treat all suppliers in the same way, both in Croatia and abroad.

Slovenia is expected to soon adopt a special law informally called “Lex Mercator” in order to protect the company from the possible withdrawal of money to Agrokor’s bank account. Other countries in which Agrokor’s firms operate have not yet announced similar plans. Mercator is a large Slovenian retailer which is part of the Agrokor group.

“There is a different situation in each of the countries in relation to Agrokor. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are 10 such companies employing 6,000 people; in Serbia there are twice as many workers, while in Montenegro 1,500 employees work for Agrokor,” said Mirko Šarović, Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. He added that the expectations of the participants of the Belgrade meeting were that all companies would be treated equally. Šarović stressed that the agreement on the common solution was not aimed against anyone, but was rather a contribution to the stabilization of Agrokor.

Croatia adopted a special law, so-called “Lex Agrokor”, which enabled the government to appoint a special commissioner who will lead the restructuring process of the group in the next 15 months. There is a possibility that governments of other countries in which Agrokor operates might adopt similar legislation for companies in their countries. Agrokor’s headquarters is in Croatia, but it has extensive holdings in neighbouring countries.


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