LJUBLJANA, April 25 Slovenia's largest food
retailer Mercator said on Friday it had reached a deal
on restructuring its 1 billion euro ($1.38 billion) debt with
creditor banks, clearing the last hurdle for its takeover by
Croatian rival Agrokor.
"The creditors gave strong support to Mercator which
provides stability needed for the group's financial
restructuring," Mercator said in a statement without revealing
details of the deal.
Mercator's owners include the heavily indebted brewery
Pivovarna Lasko and Slovenia's biggest local bank, NLB, one of
five lenders the government had to rescue with a 3.3
billion-euro capital boost in December.
Agrokor, Croatia's top food producer and retailer, will
acquire 53.1 percent of Mercator from a consortium of 12
Slovenian firms and banks, paying 86 euros ($120) per Mercator
share - down from a previous offer of 120 euros per share -
which values Mercator at 323.8 million euros.
Agrokor will also boost Mercator's capital by 225 million
euros - 200 million immediately to repay its debts to banks and
the remaining 25 million euros to boost working capital.
The transaction deadline is June 30, 2014.
Agrokor signed a deal to buy the majority stake in Mercator
last June, but then demanded that Mercator first reached an
agreement on how and when to restructure its debt.
Regulators in Slovenia and Croatia, both members of the
European Union, have cleared the deal but the Croatian watchdog
has ordered Agrokor to sell several dozen of its retail shops.
The new company will have revenue of 7 billion euros and
employ 60,000 people, Agrokor said last June.
Mercator shares closed 1.32 percent lower at 75 euros on
($1 = 0.7240 euros)
($1 = 0.7236 Euros)
(Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic and Igor Ilic; Editing by