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Agrokor companies to remain suspended from trade

Author Maja Garaca
Agrokor companies to remain suspended from trade Author: Zagreb bourse. License: All rights reserved.

ZAGREB (Croatia), March 1 (SeeNews) - Companies within troubled Croatian food and retail concern Agrokor will remain suspended from the bourse until regular trading can resume without causing damage to investors, Croatia's financial regulator said on Thursday.

The shares of frozen food producer Ledo [ZSE:LEDO-R-A], food company Belje [ZSE:BLJE-R-A], meat processing company PIK-Vinkovci [ZSE:PIVK-R-A], news stand operator Tisak [ZSE:TISK-R-A], agricultural conglomerate Vupik [ZSE:VPIK-R-A], mayonnaise and margarine maker Zvijezda [ZSE:ZVZD-R-A], soft drinks and water bottling company Jamnica [ZSE:JMNC-R-A] and wholesaler Zitnjak  [ZSE:ZTNJ-R-A] will be suspended from trading until the regulator, HANFA, decides that the conditions for their return have been met, it said in a bourse filing filed separately with ZSE by the companies.

Trading in the shares of these companies was initially halted on February 21 by the Zagreb Stock Exchange over the resignation of Agrokor receiver Ante Ramljak. However, earlier today ZSE announced trading will continue on March 2.

Shortly after, however, HANFA ordered ZSE to suspend the companies from the bourse without delay as it is questionable whether  investors can make informed investment decisions in the current environment.

"Investors should be protected by suspending trading until the public is fully and accurately informed about the outcome of the extraordinary administration procedure in Agrokor and its affiliated companies," HANFA said.

The financial regulator noted that there are currently too many uncertainties surrounding Agrokor and its units. It added that in such an environment information can emerge that may be considered privileged and that could have a significant influence on the current and future business operations of the issuer.

The issues which HANFA considers unclear include how the appointment of the new receiver will affect the extraordinary administration procedure and whether Agrokor's creditors will, following Ramljak's resignation, activate special provisions provided to them within their loan deals which could see them claim overdue debt now.

HANFA added that another reason to suspend the companies from trading is that Agrokor's units will not be publishing their 2017 financial statement until a later date.

On Wednesday, the commercial court in Zagreb appointed Fabris Perusko as new receiver of the Agrokor concern to replace  Ramljak.

Fabris Perusko was nominated to the post by the Croatian government.

Last Wednesday, Ramljak tendered his resignation after it emerged that he had hired his former employer, Texo Management consultancy, to advise on the process of Agrokor restructuring. It was also made public that at the time when Agrokor and Texo Management signed the consultancy services contract, Ramljak was still formally employed by Texo.