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Fortenova Group and Meggle reach agreement on the purchase of Osijek dairy’s property and production line


Belje plus, part of the Fortenova Group, and MEGGLE Croatia reached and signed an agreement on the purchase of the assets of the MEGGLE dairy in Osijek. By purchasing MEGGLE’s property and production line – with the intention to commence own production as of 1st January 2021 -  Belje will preserve the long-standing tradition of milk production in that part of Slavonia.

With the start of the production in Osijek Belje will purchase a certain quantity of milk from MEGGLE’s present contractors, while the need for employees is still under review, with around 100 people expected to be employed.

Fortenova Group already accounts for around 10 per cent of the total milk quantity produced in Croatia, which is around 5 per cent of the local needs. Most of the milk produced at Belje is used for the production of ABC cheese, with its annual production currently at the level of 3,700 tonnes, while plans have been developed for the significant expansion of its portfolio.

“We are happy with the agreement reached and with having closed the sale of MEGGLE’s assets in Osijek, as well as with Belje’s decision to produce on that location following our withdrawal. After having made the final decision on closing down our production in Croatia, the MEGGLE Group has exerted maximum efforts to find a buyer for the assets in order for as many of our employees as possible to have new employment after 31st December and for our contractors not to have any standstill in the purchase of milk. Until the end of the year MEGGLE shall continue to restructure its operations, in accordance with the agreement reached with the trade unions, while meeting all the assumed obligations in time and in full”, said Marjan Vucak, President of the Management Board of MEGGLE Croatia.

“The MEGGLE Group is aware of how important it is to preserve the milk production in Osijek, which is why we had delayed our decision for as long as this was possible and we are glad that with the new owner it will be continued after all. Over all these years Meggle has been a socially sensitive and responsible employer and a reliable business partner. Having reached this agreement with Fortenova Group confirms that we have continued to behave that way in this restructuring process, too, and we shall keep operating according to the same principles going forward”, said Matthias Oettel, CEO of the MEGGLE Group.

“Fortenova Group has continuously worked on further improving the value and strengthening the portfolio of its brands. In order to utilise all potentials of ABC fresh cream cheese, which is one of the strongest regional brands and one of our strongest export products, Belje needs additional production capacities and MEGGLE’s withdrawal enabled us to secure them within short time. With the Osijek plant we have secured the prerequisites for the development of new products, made of local raw material, of premium quality and higher added value. With this move we shall continue to work on the preservation and further growth of the local agricultural production, which along with saving existing and opening new jobs is of great significance for Slavonia and the broader community. Fortenova Group views its operations in the long term and we are currently preparing the company for operations in the period following the crisis in order to have as strong as possible a lever for growth once the recovery starts, with this transaction to be entirely financed from our operations” – said Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group.

“The acquisition of Meggle’s assets and the development of new products can be an additional encouragement to increase the quantities of milk produced and for small producers to invest in dairy cow farms in Croatia. This would certainly have a positive effect on the change of trends, after this year the long-lasting decline in milk quantities produced in Croatia has finally been stopped. The dairy industry is one of the major focus areas of the 2020-2025 strategy in Fortenova Group’s Agriculture Division, and the Belje food industry will be the platform on which the development in that segment will gain momentum” – says Andrej Dean, President of the Management Board of Belje.

The transaction will be carried out once all the required regulatory approvals are in place.

Fortenova Group has received a number of non-binding offers for the Frozen Food Business Group


Fortenova Group has received a number of non-binding offers for the acquisition of the companies Ledo plus, Ledo Citluk and Frikom, forming together with several smaller affiliated companies the Frozen Food Business Group, which operates within Fortenova Group’s Food Division.

“Over the last few years, and again in recent weeks, there has been occasional comment and discussion in regards to offers being made for various Fortenova Group’s assets. Whilst this interest reflects the strength of our business, brands and management it obviously creates uncertainty and concern for our employees. We will therefore aim to quickly review the offers received and decide whether to move forward with one or more of them. Our aim is for this decision to be taken by mid-October, which will then be communicated first to our employees and then announced to the public. Our ultimate goal, subject to achieving a satisfactory price, is to select a strategic partner who will make the maximum contribution to the further development of the Frozen Food Business Group and completion of the process depends on finding such partner”, said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors.

 “With our clear strategy to financially strengthen the company in mind, a sale of the Frozen Food Business Group, if concluded, would result in a reduction of debt that would transform the financial position of the overall Fortenova Group. This would then allow full investment in the remaining businesses to drive their future growth. The Executive Directors and the Board will review the offers received and will quickly take a decision on how to move forward”, said James Pearson, Fortenova Group’s Chief Financial Officer.

“To proactively achieve our targeted capital structure via deleveraging the company, we are ready to dispose of only one segment of the core business which potentially with these offers would be the Frozen Food Business Group. Beyond this, the divestment of our non-core operations in order to focus on the core business will be continued”, concluded Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors.

European Commission clears concentration of Fortenova Group and Poslovni sistemi Mercator


The European Commission has cleared the intention of concentration whereby Fortenova Group acquires control over Poslovni sistemi Mercator, Ljubljana.

For the territories of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia the concentration was filed with the competent local market competition regulators and all national authorities except for the Competition Commission of the Republic of Serbia have now approved the concentration.  

“We are pleased with the decision of the European Commission to approve the transfer of Mercator from Agrokor to Fortenova Group has been given. We expect that the approval from the Serbian Commission will follow shortly. This has paved the way for the transfer of Mercator to be realized by the end of this year and for Fortenova Group’s retail as of 2021 to start acting on the market as a common, regional group, whose operations are in the interest of all stakeholders – from employees through suppliers and shareholders to the entire economic environment, both in the national states and regionwide” – said Fabris Peruško, Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group commenting on the EC decision.

“A strong owner will enable Mercator's further growth and development, and support Mercator's strategic projects, including the 130-million-euro investment into a new logistics centre in Ljubljana,” added Tomislav Cizmic, President of the Management Board of Mercator.

Changes in the Board of Directors of Fortenova Group


Fortenova Group’s DR Holders have today at the General Assembly meeting voted in favor of changes in the Group’s Board of Directors by adopting the resolution to approve the acceptance of resignations of two of its members – Mr. Alexander Torbakhov and Mr. Paul Foley.

Mr. Torbakhov’s resignation has been prompted by the fact that he has been appointed the CEO of a major Russian telecommunications company VimpelCom.

Mr. Foley has decided to focus cooperation with Fortenova Group fully on its retail operations through the roles of a member of Supervisory Boards of Mercator in Slovenia and Konzum plus in Croatia, that he already holds. Mr. Foley is also expected to become the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Konzum, thus putting to best use his lifelong experience in the retail industry.

Changes in the Board of Directors of Fortenova Group d.d.


A meeting of holders of Depositary Receipts issued by Fortenova Group STAK Stichting, a foundation with registered seat in the Netherlands, has been convened today to be held on 30 September 2019. Depositary Receipt Holders represent the ultimate owners of Croatia-based Fortenova grupa d.d. and at the forthcoming DR Holder Meeting they will decide on the appointment of two new members to the Board of Directors of Fortenova grupa d.d. Following the recent resignation of two non-executive members of the Board of Directors, Kelly Griffith and Daniel Michael Böhi, it is proposed that at the DR Holder Meeting the shareholders would decide on the appointment of Paul Bastone and Alexander Torbakhov to the Board of Directors of Fortenova grupa d.d. for a three-year term of office. DR Holders will be able to either vote electronically as of today at 5 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, 27 September 2019 or at the DR Holder Meeting itself on Monday, 30 September 2019.

Furthermore, the Workers' Council of Fortenova grupa d.d. today advised the company's Board of Directors of the appointment of Ivica Mudrinic to the Board of Directors as workers' representative. While this appoinment pursuant to the decision of the Workers' Council is effective immediately, the other two appointments mentioned above have to be adopted by the majority of votes of the Depositary Receipt Holders.

Fortenova Group Successfully Closes New Financing


On Friday, 6 September 2019 Fortenova Group issued a EUR1.157 billion bond, thereby successfully concluding the process of refinancing the Super-Priority Facility Agreement (SPFA) dated 8 June 2017. The new financing is structured as a 4-year bond in the amount of EUR 1.157 billion, with a 7.3% interest rate plus EURIBOR, with 1% floor and is led by HPS Investment Partners in cooperation with VTB Bank.

The refinancing agreement envisages the interest rate to be successively reduced as the Fortenova Group will be reducing its leverage ratio.

„By closing the new financing arrangement Fortenova Group has fully refinanced the SPFA loan and provided for its mid-term stability and long-term viability, growth and development. We would like to thank all shareholders who have recognized and supported the process that is in the interest of all stakeholders. Fortenova Group is now entering a new stage of operations focusing on profitability increase, efficiency improvements and value creation for all stakeholders“, said Fabris Peruško, CEO of Fortenova grupa d.d.

Over 80% DR Holders voted in favor of the new senior financing led by HPS Investment Partners


Holders of Depositary Receipts, issued by Fortenova Group STAK Stichting, voted today at the General Assembly held in Amsterdam with over 80% majority in favor of the new financing arrangement of Fortenova Group, with the purpose to refinance its current Super-Priority Facility Agreement dated June 8th, 2017. The new financing is structured as a 4-year bond in the amount of up to 1.2 billion euro, with a 7.3% interest rate plus EURIBOR with a 1% floor, and it will be led by HPS Investment Partners. The closing of the refinancing process will be finalized by the end of August.

“The General Assembly vote proved that the majority of our shareholders recognized the importance of this new financing for Fortenova Group in terms of securing our mid-term financial stability as well as long-term sustainability, growth and development. I am thankful to our shareholders for supporting the decision of the Fortenova Group's management. I would also like to thank all our stakeholders that were involved in achieving this critical milestone in the refinancing process. Fortenova Group is now focused on closing the transaction after which we will enter a new stage of our business operations that will be focused on increasing profitability, improving performance and creating additional value to all stakeholders.” said Fabris Peruško, CEO of Fortenova Group d.d.

Notice to Noteholders re New Instruments


To the attention of noteholders in respect of the (a) EUR 325 million 9.125% New York law governed senior notes due to mature in 2020 (ISINs: XS0836495183 / XS0836495696) (the "EUR2020"), (b) USD 300 million 8.875% New York law governed senior notes due to mature in 2020 (ISINs: USX0027KAG32 / US00855UAB52, CUSIPs: X0027KAG3 / 00855UAB5) (the "USD2020") and (c) EUR 300 million 9.875% New York law governed senior notes due to mature in 2019 (ISINs: XS0776111188 / XS0776110966) (the "EUR2019") issued by Agrokor d.d. (the "Notes" and the holders thereof being "Noteholders").

Under the Settlement Plan , BNY Mellon was entitled to receive the New Instruments issued for the Notes and to appoint Noteholders as its designees to receive their respective portion of New Instruments on its behalf (see Cl. 18.3.1 of the Settlement Plan). BNY Mellon designated (a) in relation to 1,904,277 Strips allocated to BNY Mellon in respect of the EUR2020 and USD2020 Notes, and in relation to 1,126,698 Strips allocated to BNY Mellon in respect to the EUR2019 Notes, certain entities to receive such distributions on account of its Assigned Claim and (b) in relation to the remainder, each Noteholder to receive such distributions, pro rata based on each Noteholder’s holding of Notes (“Designation”). For further details, please refer to the notice from BNY Mellon on 2 April 2019 (Trustees Notice).

Initial meeting of holders of depositary receipts of Fortenova Group was held


The meeting of holders of depositary receipts of Fortenova Group STAK Stichting , a foundation (stichting), incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, with its corporate seat in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was held on 1 April 2019 in Amsterdam.

The holders of 168,300,328 depositary receipts were present or represented at Initial DR Holder Meeting, representing 63.76% of the aggregate number of issued and outstanding Depositary Receipts with voting rights. The agenda of the meeting consisted of the appointment of the members of the board of directors of Fortenova grupa d.d., the remuneration of members of the board of directors of Fortenova, appointment and remuneration of the managing directors of Aisle Dutch HoldCo B.V. and the Company and granting of the title of managing directors and acquisition by the Company from Agram Invest d.d. of certain shares in Agrolaguna d.d. and Ċ½itnjak d.d.

All proposals were accepted with high majority of present votes of the Initial DR Holder Meeting.