Slovenian retailer Mercator has confirmed that it hopes to stabilise its shareholder base through an agreement to issue a dividend of EUR7.2 (US$9.68) for fiscal 2009.

The company has seen a degree of uncertainty in its ownership structure after eight local banks said they would sell a 36.35% stake in the company. The banks had confiscated the stake from the failed Infond and Istranenz Holdings.

However, the company said that it yesterday (23 April) reached an agreement with three local banks -  Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Nova KBM and Abanka – that would see them retain their 18.7% stake in the group until 2012.

In a statement, the company said that the higher dividend would make its shares “more attractive” to investors and “help towards a more stable ownership structure” in the medium term.

This, Mercator said, is “important” to the group's “unhindered development”.