Agrokor to be renamed Fortenova, to restart operations in April

ZAGREB, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Croatia’s food producer and retailer Agrokor will be renamed Fortenova Group and will restart operations under new management in April, the company rescued from the brink of bankruptcy said on Thursday.

Under a settlement deal which includes a debt-for-equity swap and some loan write-offs, reached last summer, Agrokor’s biggest single creditor, Russia’s Sberbank became the largest shareholder with a 39.2 percent stake.

Bondholders will own 25 percent, local Croatian banks 15.3 percent and Russia’s second largest bank VTB will end up with a 7.5 percent stake.

The new stakeholders will take over the holding that will include 159 companies of which 77 are located in Croatia and the remainder across the Western Balkans. The largest Croatian retail chain Konzum will also start operating under the name Konzum Plus.

Agrokor is the largest firm in the Balkans with 52,000 staff. It was put under state-run administration in April 2017, crippled by debts built up during an ambitious expansion drive. .

“By implementing the settlement deal with creditors we are wrapping up a demanding process of saving the company which only two years ago was at the brink of bankruptcy,” Fabris Perusko, Agrokor’s state-appointed crisis manger told reporters.

Perusko was proposed to remain at the helm of the firm as its CEO.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle