ZAGREB, May 29, 2018 – Russia’s Sberbank is negotiating a swap of its 18.5% stake in Slovenian retailer Mercator for a stake in Mercator’s parent company Agrokor, two sources close to the negotiations told Bloomberg, as reported by Russian business media.
This way Sberbank can increase its stake in Croatia’s food and retail conglomerate Agrokor. The Russian lender is expected to acquire more shares in Agrokor as part of the restructuring process, namely the extraordinary administration process.
Agrokor, the biggest employer in the Balkans with about 60,000 staff, was put under state management in April 2017 after piling up debts amounting to at least 40.4 billion kuna during a rapid expansion in the region.
Sberbank, which is the Croatian firm’s biggest creditor, has previously acquired 18.53 percent of Mercator at an auction which was initiated by the Russian bank.