Serbia's ban on Sunoko to buy Hellenic Sugar damages Serbian sugar industry.

By bne IntelliNews February 2, 2012
The Serbian competition watchdog's decision to ban local firm Sunoko from taking over Greece's Hellenic Sugar Industry is damaging for the Serbian sugar market, news agency Beta reported, quoting a Sunoko statement as saying. This decision impedes the strengthening of the competitiveness and the production capacities' concentration, which is necessary to help prepare the Serbian market for the strong competition on the free market of the European Union, the Serbian company said. Sunoko, part of Serbia's MK Group, sent last year a nonbinding offer to buy ATEbank's 82.33% stake in Hellenic Sugar and planned to file a binding bid until the end-February deadline. Yet, last month the Serbian regulator forbade Sunoko to carry out a concentration with Hellenic Sugar that would have pushed its market share in Serbia to 78%. Sunoko runs six sugar refineries in Serbia, while Hellenic Sugar has control of further two. The watchdog turned down all structural measures Sunoko has offered to implement following the acquisition, including the sale of one refinery. Sunoko calls the acquisition ban groundless also because the Greek regulator does not stop it from acquiring 100% of the sugar production and sale capacities in Greece, while the Serbian watchdog prevents it from gaining an additional 28% of market share.

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