Agrokor owner files case against Croatia with European Commission

Agrokor owner files case against Croatia with European Commission
By bne IntelliNews January 11, 2018

The owner of Croatia’s heavily indebted food and retail giant Agrokor, Ivica Todoric, wrote on his blog on January 11 that he has filed a lawsuit against Croatia with the European Commission over the adoption of the so-called Lex Agrokor.

Agrokor, Croatia’s largest company and one of the largest employers in the SEE region, is undergoing restructuring after a debt crisis pushed it to the brink of collapse in early 2017. The Croatian government has since stepped in to appoint an emergency management at the group.

Lex Agrokor, which came into force in April 2017, was an emergency law on assistance to systemically important companies that cannot pay their debts, applying to companies with liabilities of more than €1bn that employ over 5,000 people.

“By adopting and enforcing the Lex Agrokor, and in accordance with its provisions, Croatia has violated several provisions and fundamental principles of the EU law, namely: the principle of legal certainty and legitimate expectations, the principle of equality and non- discrimination, the right of ownership and the principle of proportionality and the right to a fair trial and the right to access to a court,” Todoric wrote.

The owner of the troubled food giant claimed that Lex Agrokor, which stripped him of his management powers, violated those principles, and that its provisions are significantly different from other Croatian and European provisions regulating pre-bankruptcy procedures.

Todoric said that the lawsuit was forwarded to the president of the European Commission and the documents will also be made available to the prime ministers of EU countries and all representatives of the European parliament.

“This is not a lawsuit against my homeland, it is a lawsuit against irrational policy and those implementing it and I will never stop fighting against them,” Todoric wrote.

An audit report has shown that the Agrokor Group’s net loss in 2016 amounted to HRK11bn (€1.46bn), while the company’s liabilities amounted to HRK56.3bn.

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