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Nov 10, 2017 17:38 EEST
November 10 (SeeNews) - Russia's Sberbank is unpleasantly surprised by the decision of Croatia's Agrokor not to recognise the debt claims the bank has filed against the ailing food-to-retail concern, the Croatian unit of the bank told SeeNews on Friday.
On Thursday, Agrokor announced its extraordinary administration has recognised debt claims in the amount of 41.2 billion kuna ($6.4 billion/5.5 billion euro). Sberbank's claims were, however, disputed by Agrokor due to lawsuits against the concern and its units launched by the bank outside Croatia in a bid to recover a part of its debt.
"Sberbank has reported its claims fairly and lawfully, with documentation proving the grounds for and the amount of its claims", Sberbank's Croatian unit said in an e-mailed statement to SeeNews.
It also said that everyone has the right to take all legally permissible measures before any jurisdiction, either in Croatia or abroad, to protect their legitimate interests.
"No one should be discriminated against based solely on this fact, nor should or can the recognition of claims be withheld on this basis", Sberbank said.
It added that it must file an appeal against the decision, "which will only extend the whole process and cause additional costs".
Agrokor's owes Sberbank some 1.1 billion euro ($1.3 billion). The deputy chairman of the bank's management board, Maxim Poletaev, told Russian media last month that the Croatian government, which had taken control of the indebted concern to prevent its collapse, should service its debt.
On Thursday, the Agrokor extraordinary trustee, Ante Ramljak, told the media in Zagreb that Sberbank's claims could be recognised if the bank withdraws from the legal action against the concern.
Agrokor has been in financial turmoil since January when Moody's downgraded its corporate family rating on Agrokor. Following Moody's decision, Agrokor pulled out of a syndicated loan deal it had struck with several international lenders, which sent the price of its bonds on international markets into a downward spiral.
In April, the Croatian parliament adopted a law allowing the government to appoint temporary administrators in companies of systemic importance to lead a restructuring process at the request of the companies' creditors or the debtors themselves. A process of restructuring of the concern under extraordinary administration was launched under the law commonly known as Lex Agrokor.
(1 euro=7.53857 kuna)
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