Talks are under way with international creditors to “consolidate the position and operations” of Croatia-based food-to-retail group Agrokor, the country’s Prime Minister has said.
Andrej Plenkovic was speaking after Agrokor, Croatia’s largest privately-owned company, reportedly came under pressure from the country’s government and investors amid fears that reports of the company’s “debt problems” of the impact on the wider domestic economy.
Plenkovic stressed Agrokor was “the responsibility of the owner and management”. However, he said: “The government continues to monitor the situation. We’re looking for a solution, but it has no effect on the stability of the Croatian economy and the financial system.”
He added there are “a lot” of internal issues to be resolved by the company.
Agrokor could not be contacted by just-food for comment. However, a statement from the company obtained by Reuters said company managers and “key investors are working on a new business model, which will protect the interests of all the stakeholders, primarily taking care about employees, suppliers and partners”.
The statement criticised what Agrokor said were “inaccurate” media reports about the company in recent days and said a “chosen model” for the company’s future business plans would be unveiled soon.
Reuters said according to latest data, from last September, Agrokor’s debt amounted to HRK45bn ($6.6bn) against capital of around HRK7.5bn. “A major portion of that debt, some EUR500m, will mature in early 2018. One of the major creditors is Russia’s Sberbank.”
Agrokor, which employs around 60,000, says it has a total annual income of around EUR6.5bn (US$7.1bn). In addition to its Croatia-based companies, in recent years Agrokor has acquired companies based in several neighbouring countries.
Last July, Agrokor was reportedly preparing for an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, possibly to take place in the summer of this year. A spokesperson for the company told just-food then Agrokor was still considering its options.