ZAGREB, March 20 (Reuters) - Russia's state bank Sberbank
said on Monday it was ready to financially support the
restructuring of indebted Croatian food concern Agrokor
Agrokor, Croatia's biggest private company and the
biggest food producer and retailer in the Balkans, is under
pressure from investors and the Zagreb government to clear up
its debt problems, which could destabilise the local economy
. Sberbank is one of its major creditors.
"Despite current difficulties in (Agrokor's) business
operations, Sberbank continues to give financial support aimed
at stabilising Agrokor's business," Sberbank was quoted as
saying by state news agency Hina.
Agrokor said on Sunday it was working on a new business
model to be presented soon.
Sberbank also said that, after talks involving major
creditors, a plan for the injection of liquidity to Agrokor for
the next three months, the amount of which has yet to be
determined, could be finalised as early as Tuesday.
Agrokor employs nearly 60,000 people across the Balkans. It
had annual revenue of 50 billion kuna ($7.25 billion) in 2015,
around 15 percent of Croatia's gross domestic product. It is not
listed, but some of the companies it owns are traded on the
According to the latest data, from September, its debt
amounted to 45 billion kuna against capital of around 7.5
billion kuna. A major portion of that debt, some 500 million
euros ($536.70 million) will mature early next year.
Analysts say the company's troubles came because it expanded
its business too aggressively and relied on risky borrowing. One
option for Agrokor might be the sale of some of its profitable
assets or a change in ownership structure, analysts say.
The Zagreb-based company is currently controlled by local
businessman Ivica Todoric.
Sberbank also said that it was ready, once liquidity problem
has been resolved, to consider long-term restructuring plans,
but added that it was not interested in becoming Agrokor's
($1 = 6.8958 kuna)
($1 = 0.9316 euros)
(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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