Croatian food manufacturer and retailer Agrokor is understood to be eyeing a listing on the London Stock Exchange in the next two years.
The retailer, which signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Slovenian rival Mercator this year, may use the cash raised for acquisitions in Turkey or Russia, founder and president Ivica Todoric told The Financial Times.
Agrokor agreed the acquisition of a 53.1% share in Mercator in June for EUR240m (US$320m). It was the fifth time the retailer had sought to buy its competitor and will created one of the largest retail companies in Central and Eastern Europe, with annual revenue of around EUR7bn.
Todoric told the FT the IPO will be launched once the deal is complete and would be “central” to the group’s plans expand beyond Agrokor’s western Balkan heartland.
“We will see whether that means forming partnerships, acquisitions, and moving into new markets. It would be a waste to have an IPO now, but we believe that in a few years, this will be a totally different market, and we will be ready. We’re already talking to big international [financial] players about it,” he told the publication.
Todoric, meanwhile, said he “regretted” talks in 2008 with Turkish retailer Migros Ticaret fell through but said the company was “gearing up for another bid” to enter Turkey – “probably with a foreign partner”. Agrokor, he told the FT, “needed to focus on its broader region”, particularly Russia and Turkey.
Agrokor could not be reached and did not return a request for comment at the time of going to press.