In the wake of Ante Ramljak’s step down from his former position of Agrokor’s extraordinary commissioner, Agrokor’s former boss gives us his thoughts…
Agrokor’s now ex extraordinary commissioner, Ante Ramljak, has been faced with much more than Ivica Todorić’s barrage of cyber-accusations via his blog of late. As the wave of hot water quickly spiralled into a proverbial tsunami which saw Ramljak step down from his position within Croatia’s largest yet ailing economic player, Todorić offers his thoughts on the situation, on Ramljak’s time in his previous position, and the threats that now face Agrokor owing to what he often refers to as an ”unlawful and unconstitutional” Lex Agrokor.
We bring you Ivica Todorić’s latest blog post translated into English in full below:
”I have to admit, unfortunately, that [Ante] Ramljak wasn’t the extraordinary administration process’ biggest problem, he only spent [his time doing] the crime that Lex [Agrokor] had given him [allowed him]. Hence, neither Ramljak’s replacement nor the appointment of a new commissioner will save Agrokor and its business, all because the contradictory law that’s leading Agrokor into liquidation and which makes it impossible to settle a deal remains in force.
If this is the case, the appointment of a new commissioner won’t change anything, that is, the theft of Agrokor (its assets) at the expense of the company itself, its shareholders and its creditors will continue, and that’s apparent from the following:
1. The roll-up Loan agreement remains in effect. Although the roll-up credit agreement is a criminal offense that gave Agrokor’s remaining assets to Knighthead (Fund), destroyed business with the obligation of a return of 1 billion euro (although only 300 million euro was spent from doing so), and gave interest and leverage to the extraordinary commissioner in such a way that the entire control of the procedure was in Knighthead’s hands, Lex [Agrokor] doesn’t give the new extraordinary commissioner any chance to revise the aforementioned harmful contract, he’ll have to comply with all of its provisions, no matter how harmful they are.
2. Lex [Agrokor] doesn’t provide any mechanism to the new commissioner or court to lift (alter/lift the weight of) Ramljak’s injurious actions. In addition to the roll-up credit agreement, all the other harmful deals [made by Ramljak] will remain in effect too. The new commissioner won’t have any legal mechanisms to put any power outside of all of the damaging consultancy contracts Ramljak has signed with his friends and partners, whose sole purpose is to withdraw money from Agrokor. The money from Agrokor will continue to flow through the ramifications of Ramljak’s advisers and attorneys for all of their fictitious services.
3. Lex [Agrokor] doesn’t provide any provisions to prevent conflicts of interest. Apart from the fact that all of Ramljak’s consultancy contracts will remain in force, it’s expected that the new commissioner will also conclude several new contracts with his advisors/consultants and attorneys. Also, there are no legal barriers in Lex [Agrokor] stopping Ramljak from returning to Texo management, and he wants to share the multi-millions of profit with his partner, Tomislav Matić.
4. There are no mechanisms [provided for in Lex Agrokor] to repay the money paid to eligible creditors. Ramljak gave a lot of money to the creditors who gave him support, and those selected creditors were paid millions without any criteria, who made all of their claims before the opening of the procedure was settled in its entirety. Although these creditors are undoubtedly predetermined, at the expense of other creditors, there are no mechanisms in Lex [Agrokor] that allow a new extraordinary commissioner to correct [it] and repay the money.
5. The court still has no control. Ramljak’s resignation and the examination of his responsibility clearly shows that this is a process controlled by the government rather than by the court. At one point, [Andrej] Plenković didn’t say he would ask the court to examine Ramljak’s conduct, but held Ramljak himself responsible. Ramljak resigned after talking to Plenković, not after the intervention of the court. The court won’t have any control over the new extraordinary commissioner.
6. The shareholders will remain without anything. Although it’s a matter of harmful contracts that the companies within the concern have been guaranteed a loan that isn’t used for their business, the new extraordinary commissioner will not have any Lex [Agrokor] based mechanisms to finish the Knighthead warrant. The prices of the shares of some of the highly valuable companies will remain completely worthless, and the shareholders will remain with nothing.
7. The settlement is impossible to implement. In practice, all the shortcomings of Lex [Agrokor] have been highlighted, which clearly show that the settlement cannot be implemented. In my earlier blogs, I pointed out the lack of consistency and all the shortcomings of Lex [Agrokor], which are now clearly on display. The one-year deadline is knocking at the door, and despite the requirement of an additional 3-month deadline, it’s clear to everyone that the settlement can’t be arrived to, even within this deadline. Lex [Agrokor] opens up too many questions and too few answers, how a creditor council will be formed, how to vote for representatives in the creditor council, what are the criteria for forming a group, which claims will be recognised for voting on resolutions and so on are unclear to everyone. Based on such [laws] of Lex Agrokor, a legitimate agreement cannot be arrived to.
So, Ramljak’s dismissal and the appointment of a new extraordinary commissioner won’t do anything, let alone save Agrokor from liquidation. The only chance to save Agrokor is the abolition of Lex [Agrokor], the solutions are possible and realistic, and I’ll present them in the coming days.”
Ivica Todorić’s blog post translated in full from ivicatodoric.hr