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Mercator to run Agrokor's retail business in Serbia, Konzum gets Croatia, Bosnia

ZAGREB (Croatia), August 29 (SeeNews) - Croatian food-to-retail concern Agrokor will put Ljubljana-based Mercator [LJE:MELR] in charge of its retail operations in Serbia after recently acquiring a majority stake in the Slovenian retailer, a bourse filing indicated on Friday.

In June, privately-held Agrokor closed the acquisition of a 53.12% stake in Ljubljana-listed Mercator and is currently in the process of buying out minority shareholders to further raise its stake. The deal resulted in overlaps on several markets in Southeast Europe (SEE) where both groups have operations.

Agrokor's unlisted Konzum arm is planned to be in charge of the integrated retail operations in Croatia and in Bosnia, Mercator said in a statement.

The integration of the two groups' operations in the three countries is conditional on the takeover bid launched by Agrokor being declared successful by Slovenia's Securities Market Agency, the statement said.

Agrokor's buyout offer for the outstanding Mercator equity is valid until September 1.

Mercator's fast-moving consumer goods stores in Croatia and in Bosnia will be leased out at arm's length principle to Konzum, while Agrokor's retail and wholesale fast-moving consumer goods units in Serbia will be leased out to Mercator.

At the end of June, Mercator Group operated across SEE a total of 1,586 retail units, including 265 in Serbia, 221 in Croatia and 112 in Bosnia.

The deal for the acquisition of the Mercator stake has created one of the largest retail companies in Central and Eastern Europe with around 7.0 billion euro ($9.2 billion) in annual revenues and over 64,000 employees.

Based in Zagreb, Agrokor also has operations in food and beverage production.

($=0.7612 euro)

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