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ZAGREB (Croatia), June 15 (SeeNews) - The receiver of Croatia's ailing concern Agrokor, Ante Ramljak, has revealed that its units are operating well in Serbia and Slovenia, but the situation is more complex in Bosnia, where retailer Konzum is facing financial issues, Croatian media reported on Thursday.
Agrokor's units employ 5,100 in Bosnia, Ramljak told news daily Jutarnji List in an interview. He noted that by replacing Konzum with Slovenia's Mercator, Agrokor will try and salvage the situation in Bosnia, which is burdened by Konzum's lack of success.
"We are planning to take some steps with Mercator and Konzum to try and resolve Konzum's financial situation", Ramljak said.
He explained that the situation could have been worse for Croatia's neighbours but so far the Agrokor crisis has remained a relatively local issue.
"The entire region could have found itself in a very awkward situation. When you have more than five thousand employees in Bosnia and Herzegovina in three to four companies, which are the best in the country, then it is a problem for their entire economy", Ramljak stated.
"Mercator, Frikom and Dijamant are certainly among the top ten companies in Serbia and their fall would have been a serious problem for the local economy. Mercator in Slovenia would have been even worse", he said.
Ramljak also reiterated to Jutarnji that Agrokor, as a parent company, will most likely cease to exist once the period of extraordinary administration is over in some 12 months time. He noted that the remaining, healthy parts of the concern should survive the crisis.
Last month, Agrokor announced plans to put its Ljubljana-based unit Mercator in charge of its retail operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, replacing Konzum.
Ramljak noted at the time that Konzum's operations in Bosnia have been stable but Mercator's return would improve Agrokor's long term positioning in the country and further development in the regional market.
In 2014, following the takeover of Mercator by Agrokor, Konzum was put in charge of retail operations in Croatia and in Bosnia. Mercator's fast-moving consumer goods stores in Croatia and in Bosnia were leased out at arm's length principle to Konzum.