Slovenian retailer Mercator has welcomed the news that Russian bank Sberbank is to sell its 44% stake in parent company Fortenova.
‘We’re convinced that this will strengthen the stability and development of Mercator,’ the company noted in a statement.
Mercator CEO Tomislav Čizmić stressed that the consolidation-of-ownership structure was expected, as the company was seeking a strategic owner that would link its development to the long-term success of the largest retailer in Slovenia and the region.
Sberbank announced plans to exit the Fortenova business in mid-2021, noting, at the time, that the process would last two years.
However, sanctions against Russia due to the military attack on Ukraine have now sped up these proceedings.
A New Investor In Fortenova
According to Croatian daily Jutarnji List, Hungarian-American investment fund Indotek Group – majority owned by Hungarian businessman Daniel Jellink – is interested in acquiring Sberbank’s stake in the business.
In a statement, Fortenova confirmed that ‘due-diligence proceedings related to the possible sale of a stake in the group have begun’, but it does not want to disclose additional details at this stage.
Sberbank became a major individual shareholder in Fortenova Group in 2019, during the restructuring of the debts of Croatian food-to-retail consortium Agrokor.
In recent years, the financial performance of Fortenova Group has significantly improved, with its debt-to-operative-profit ratio (EBITDA) reduced from 7.2 to nearly four.