Agrokor becomes Fortenova group, retail chain Konzum to get new strategy

Agrokor becomes Fortenova group, retail chain Konzum to get new strategy

Agrokor becomes Fortenova group, retail chain Konzum to get new strategy Izvor: Borna Filic/PIXSELL

The managing board of the former Agrokor food and retail giant, which adopted its new name Fortenova on Monday, will meet on Tuesday to discuss the refinancing of the company's roll-up loan which is thought to be its first order of business.

The re-financing of the loan is expected to be agreed by early July, at an interest rate of 8.5 percent, business daily Poslovni Dnevnik reported on Tuesday.

On Monday, the debt-for-equity swap at the indebted food and retail group was formally completed and came into force, with the largest single shareholder becoming Russia's Sberbank - former creditor of Agrokor - which now owns a 39.2 percent stake in the reformed group.

American hedge fund Knighthead Capital owns 24.9 percent, Croatian banks 15.3 percent, and another Russian bank, VTB, 7.5 percent. Fortenova owns dozens of subsidiary companies in Croatia and abroad, in the retail and food sectors.

According to sources close to the company, the first order of business will be refinancing the €1.06 billion roll-up loan that Agrokor had taken out in 2017 when it was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The loan is now seen as a key stumbling block in developing the company's businesses, as the loan interest is steadily rising, reaching 11.5 percent on Monday, and is set to continue increasing by 0.5 percentage points every month. The management is hoping a refinancing plan will allow new borrowing at a much more affordable 8-8.5 percent interest rate.

In addition, the new managing board will focus on selling non-core properties of the group, estimated to be worth around €150 million, as well as reforming the its major retail chain Konzum and the newsagents chain Tisak.

The new strategy to develop Konzum is expected to take shape in April, with the goal of increasing its profit margins.

The retail network owned by Fortenova in neighbouring countries will also be one of the primary topics the management is expected to focus on in the coming months, with an emphasis on improving the company's retail market position in Serbia, Poslovni Dnevnik reported.

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