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Struggling Balkan Retail Giant Agrokor Reaches Agreement With Creditors

A Konzum store in Zagreb, owned by Agrokor
A Konzum store in Zagreb, owned by Agrokor

Croatia-based Agrokor, the struggling food producer and retail giant in the Balkans, has reached agreement with creditors to help stabilize the company.

The Croatia office of Austria's Erste Bank on March 31 said Agrokor's representatives and a board of creditors have agreed in principle to a "standstill agreement" that freezes repayment of debt to creditor banks.

Agrokor employs about 60,000 people, two-thirds of them in Croatia, and is owned by Croatian businessman Ivica Todoric.

It operates supermarkets in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia, some under the Konzum brand.

The company has debt of about 6 billion euros, six times its equity value, according to the most recent figures.

The board of Agrokor's main creditors includes state-controlled Russian banks Sberbank and VTB bank.

The creditor statement said the standstill agreement "should ease Agrokor's efforts to solve liquidity issues, secure continuity of its business, protect the concern's value, and lay the basis for sustainable restructuring."

The company’s annual revenue of 6.7 billion euros is the equivalent of more than 15 percent of Croatia’s gross domestic product.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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