May 21, 2018 / 6:10 PM / 8 months ago

Croatia PM picks new economy minister to replace Dalic

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday he was proposing Darko Horvat as Croatia’s new economy minister after Martina Dalic quit last week over her handling of the crisis at Agrokor [AGROK.UL], the country’s biggest private firm.

Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolusic has been nominated to take over Dalic’s role as deputy prime minister.

“We’re expecting a parliamentary vote on the nomination at the end of the week,” Plenkovic told reporters.

Horvat was entrepreneurship minister in a former government led by the HDZ party of which he and Plenkovic are members, which fell apart in 2016.

Dalic stepped down on May 14 under pressure from opposition groups who accused her of failing to prevent conflicts of interest during the restructuring of food producer and retailer Agrokor, the Balkans’ biggest employer.

Weighed down by debt accrued during an ambitious expansion drive, Agrokor was put under state-run administration a year ago.

Creditors including banks, bondholders and suppliers, are working with the company’s crisis management team on a settlement deal which must be reached before July 10, a legal deadline for avoiding Agrokor’s bankruptcy.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Catherine Evans

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