Croatian government appoints new emergency officer at Agrokor

Croatian government appoints new emergency officer at Agrokor
By bne IntelliNews April 11, 2017

The Croatian government decided at a session on April 10 to appoint Ante Ramljak, an investment-banking expert, as struggling Agrokor’s emergency officer for the next 15 months of restructuring, the government announced on April 10.

An emergency law aimed at protecting the stability of the national economy by offering assistance to systemically important companies that cannot repay their debts in Croatia entered into force at midnight on April 6. Adoption of the law followed a financial crisis at the Croatian food and retail giant. 

The role of Antonio Alvarez III, who was previously appointed as Agrokor’s chief restructuring officer, is currently unclear, according to Reuters.

After appointing Ramljak to manage Agrokor, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic held a meeting with Agrokor’s six main creditors, Sberbank, VTB Bank, Erste & Steiermarkische Bank, Raiffeisenbank, Privredna Banka Zagreb and Zagrebacka Banka. Plenkovic announced after meeting with the lenders that they would provide an €150mn loan for Agrokor’s suppliers by April 16.

Meanwhile, neighboring governments are taking steps to avoid the affects of Agrokor group companies’ financial shortages. Agrokor owes a total of at least €127mn to its suppliers in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bosnian Foreign Trade Minister Mirko Sarovic said on April 10, according to Balkan Insight. Bosnian Federation Prime Minister Fadil Novalic announced that Bosnian officials will hold a meeting with Agrokor’s subsidiaries operating in the country this week.

Earlier on April 8, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic held a meeting with local suppliers of Agrokor’s Serbian unit Mercator S. Mercator S’s total debt to Serbian suppliers and lenders amounts to €102mn, according to the Serbian government.

Sberbank, VTB and Erste Bank together account for most of the €2.5bn loan debt of the Agrokor group at end-September, Standard & Poors noted. In addition, Agrokor owes HRK16bn (€2.2bn) to its suppliers. 

Agrokor was downgraded by Moody's Investors Service on March 28On April 5, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Croatia’s struggling retail giant Agrokor’s long-term corporate ratings to ‘CC’, one notch above ‘SD’ (Selective Default), with negative outlook.

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