Croatian daily Jutarnji List reported this week that the Polish branch of JP Morgan was hired as a consultant at the beginning of the year to prepare the business for sale, with private equity funds, international retailers and a variety of other businesses mentioned as potential suitors.
In response to these reports, Michał Kędzia, partner in Enterprise Investors, told ESM, "We are not in the process of selling Studenac now, nor plan to launch one later this year. We are extremely happy about the current performance and growth pace of the business, and are therefore are fully focused on further development of the network."
Kędzia noted that Studenac has "more than doubled its revenues over the last two years", a pace that is "significantly faster" than the market average.
Since taking over Studenac in 2018 from founder Josip Milavič, Enterprise Investors has invested more than €300 million in the business, making the company the fastest-growing retail chain in Croatia, with the largest network of outlets (1,136 stores).
Numerous takeovers of smaller retail chains have led to a significant increase in revenues, with Studenac reporting revenue of €414.9 million in 2022 (+33.1% year-on-year).
The company is targeting over €700 million in revenue and €55 million in EBITDA for 2023.
While the sale of Studenac is not currently on the cards, Enterprise Investors hasn't ruled out the future divestment of the business.
"As a private equity fund, we always buy to sell one day," Kędzia told ESM. "This is the nature of our business.
"As such, Studenac will be for sale one day, once we decide to monetise its fantastic growth. For the time being, though, we are fully focused on fostering the further growth of this business." [Additional reporting by Stephen Wynne-Jones]