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Sberbank initiates arbitration against Croatia's Agrokor in London

Sberbank initiates arbitration against Croatia's Agrokor in London Author: Agrokor. License: All rights reserved.

ZAGREB (Croatia), August 25 (SeeNews) - Russia's Sberbank has initiated arbitration proceedings against Croatia's ailing food and retail concern Agrokor and its 11 guarantors before the London Court of International Arbitration over loans totalling 450 million euro ($531 million) the bank lent to Agrokor, the concern's ice cream and frozen food company Ledo [ZSE:LEDO] has said.

Sberbank claims that Agrokor should repay the loans as a result of the extraordinary administration proceedings currently underway in the concern, Ledo, which is one of the guarantors, said in a filing with the Zagreb Stock Exchange late on Thursday.

In parallel to the arbitration process, Agrokor's receiver, Ante Ramljak, has applied to the English court to have the extraordinary administration proceedings in Agrokor recognised in England and Wales.

"The parties to the arbitration have agreed to stay the arbitration until Ramljak's application has been resolved, which we anticipate will be November 2017 at the earliest", Ledo noted.

The company also advised that Sberbank has launched a case against it before the Belgrade commercial court. Ledo explained it has received a decision for temporary injunction from the court, under which the company is banned from disposing of or encumbering its 100% stake in Serbia-based Frikom, which serves as collateral on a 100 million euro debt to Sberbank arising from the time when Ledo served as a guarantor on loans extended to Agrokor.

Ledo is preparing to appeal the decision of the Belgrade court, it said.

Earlier this month, Croatian soft drinks and water bottling company Jamnica [ZSE:JMNC], also part of Agrokor, said units of Russia's Sberbank have lodged lawsuits against it over two loans to Agrokor guaranteed by the company.

The unit of Sberbank based in Ljubljana, Slovenia has initiated two separate lawsuits against Jamnica with the commercial court in Belgrade, Serbia and the Ljubljana district court over a 3.3 million euro credit the company had guaranteed, Jamnica said at the time.

Sberbank's unit in Zagreb has initiated a lawsuit with the Belgrade court over a loan of 255.3 million kuna ($40.7 million/34.5 million euro) also guaranteed by Jamnica.

Sberbank is seeking foreclosure on shares which Jamnica holds in Belgrade-based Mg Mivel company, and Jamnica mineralna voda, based in Ljubljana.

On April 10, the Croatian government named Ante Ramljak as receiver of Agrokor to lead the restructuring process in the concern under a new law adopted by the parliament a week earlier.

($=0.847509 euro)

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