Two Russian banks could hold almost 50% of the embattled Croatia-based food manufacturer and retailer Agrokor, the largest business in the Balkans set to come under the ownership of its creditors.

A local commercial court said yesterday (20 June) Agrokor’s creditors are to vote on a settlement deal on the business on 4 July.

Two-thirds of creditors must vote in favour of the settlement for it to go through and it is expected to receive at least that level of backing.

The vote is on a settlement plan agreed between the extraordinary commissioner overseeing the recovery of Agrokor and a temporary creditors’ council.

Under the deal, a Netherlands-based, creditors-owned entity, Aisle Dutch TopCo, will own Agrokor.

Agrokor’s largest creditor, Russia’s Sberbank, is lined up to be the company’s biggest shareholder with a 39.2% stake. A second Russian bank, VTB, would own 7.5% of the business.

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Agrokor is the largest company in the Balkans, with retail interests across the region and food-manufacturing assets in sectors such as meat and frozen food. The company is said to generate revenues worth 16% of Croatia’s GDP.

Last year, the group was put under state-run administration amid huge debts.

Agrokor-owned businesses include Croatian meat processor PIK Vrbovec, local frozen food and ice cream businesses Frikom and Ledo, as well as Serbian condiments maker Dijamant.

The group also owns Croatian food retail Konzum and Serbia-based grocer Mercator.