ZAGREB (Reuters) – Russia’s Sberbank (SBER.MM) may get around 30 percent of Croatia’s indebted food group Agrokor [AGROK.UL] following a debt settlement, a Croatian newspaper reported on Saturday.
Agrokor, the biggest employer in the Balkans, was put under state-run administration last April and has until July to reach a final deal with creditors..
The company said last month it expected to have debt settlement terms ready by April 10, and creditors would vote on the deal before July 10, the legal deadline for avoiding bankruptcy. Two thirds of the creditors must support the deal to make it valid.
“A draft has been agreed among creditors and should be formally accepted next week… Sberbank will own some 30 percent or a bit more, while with another Russian bank, VTB (VTBR.MM), the percentage controlled by banks from Russia will amount to close to 45 percent,” the Vecernji List daily said.
Agrokor was not immediately available for comment.
The largest private company in the Balkans with some 60,000 staff, Agrokor was put under administration for 15 months in April 2017 after the firm buckled following a rapid expansion program that left it weighed down by borrowing.
Sberbank is Agrokor’s single biggest creditor with a claim of 1.1 billion euros ($1.35 billion). VTB’s claim amounts to 300 million euros.
The overall claims against Agrokor, from creditors including also local banks, bondholders and suppliers, amount to some 58 billion kuna ($9.59 billion), the company says.
Vecernji List said the bondholders, of which the biggest is the U.S. investment fund Knighthead, would get up to 25 percent of Agrokor, while the local banks would get up to 10 percent.
The value of Agrokor’s assets has been assessed at between 1.8 and 3.8 billion euros.
The suppliers would also get a portion of Agrokor’s shares. A considerable part of debt to suppliers has already been repaid.
The restructuring process with creditors aims to put Agrokorback on a sustainable debt and equity footing, which includes certain write-offs.
Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Ros Russell