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Croatian govt mulls sale of minority stake in Podravka - report

Author Iskra Pavlova
Croatian govt mulls sale of minority stake in Podravka - report Author: Radomir Ralev

ZAGREB (Croatia), December 13 (SeeNews) - The Croatian government is planning to sell its minority stake in blue-chip food, beverage and drug producer Podravka [ZSE:PODR] next year as part of the process of adopting the euro, local media reported.

The state could offer for sale some 1.1 million Podravka shares, whose market value is around 500 million kuna ($75 million/67 million euro), news portal Danica.hr reported earlier this week, quoting unofficial information.

According to data from Croatia's centre for enterprise restructuring and privatisation, CERP, the government controls 19.8% of Podravka, of which 15.5% is available for sale, while the remainder serves as a guarantee on public sector loans, it noted.

Pension funds are considered to be the most likely buyers, Danica.hr wrote.

The sale of Podravka shares could take place in April or in the autumn of 2020, according to the report.

The company's stock traded up 0.63% at 476 kuna by 14:35 CET on Friday on the Zagreb bourse. Podravka's share capital is divided into 7.12 million shares of 220 kuna in par value each.

In July, the Croatian authorities sent a letter of intent to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II), the first formal step towards adopting the euro, committing to carry out the privatisation of minority state stakes in 90 local companies as part of the preparations for the eurozone entry.

The government hopes that Croatia will join ERM II in about a year. The mechanism ensures that exchange rate fluctuations between the euro and other EU currencies do not disrupt economic stability within the single market. It also helps non euro-area countries to prepare for joining the euro area. The whole process of joining the euro area is expected to take at least four years to complete, including the two-year mandatory stay in ERM II.

In November, prime minister Andrej Plenkovic said that Croatia could become a eurozone member at the beginning of 2023 or a year later.

(1 euro = 7.43916 kuna)

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