EBRD reduces stake in Croatia’s Atlantic Grupa d.d.

By Axel  Reiserer

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Retaining nearly 6 per cent of ownership signals confidence in the company’s strategic direction and the strength of its operations
 
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has today reduced its equity stake in Atlantic Grupa d.d., one of the largest food and beverage producers and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) distributors in south-eastern Europe.
 
The Bank sold 85,000 shares representing 2.55 per cent of Atlantic Grupa’s share capital through a private placement on the OTC market in Zagreb, led by the investment company InterCapital Securities Ltd.
 
Following the private placement, the EBRD continues its partnership with Atlantic Grupa by retaining a 5.98 per cent shareholding in the company.
 
Miljan Zdrale, EBRD Head of Agribusiness for central and south-eastern Europe, said: “We are very pleased with our longstanding partnership with Atlantic Grupa and the company’s achievements over the past years, especially its strong business model, its ability to adapt to changing market conditions, and the experienced and committed management team which operates with exemplary openness and transparency. As a continuing shareholder, the EBRD remains confident in Atlantic Grupa’s future prospects and growth. We are reducing our investment to help further increase the liquidity of Atlantic Grupa’s stock by expanding its free float and we continue to support the company’s growth strategy.”
 
Zoran Stanković, Vice President for Finance at Atlantic Grupa, commented: “The EBRD recognised both the value and potential of Atlantic Grupa at an early stage in the company’s development and continues to support us in our ambitions to improve and grow. We are happy to have the EBRD as our shareholder and investor, focused on sustainability in all aspects of the business, including the wider development of the Croatian capital market.”
 
Atlantic Grupa and the EBRD have enjoyed a long and successful cooperation. In July 2010 the EBRD became a shareholder in Atlantic Grupa to support the company’s landmark acquisition of the Slovenian food processing enterprise Droga Kolinska.
 
Today, the Slovenian firm is fully integrated into Atlantic Grupa. The Bank and Atlantic Grupa signed a loan agreement in September 2014 in the amount of €10 million for the construction of a state-of-the-art factory for protein bar production in Nova Gradiška, Croatia, alongside a €6 million investment by the company. As a further successful example of the cooperation between Atlantic Grupa and the EBRD, the investment aims to create a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage for the company, thanks to local production, enhanced flexibility and improved margins.
 
Since the beginning of its operations in Croatia in 1993 the EBRD has invested €3.1 billion in more than 170 projects in the country. In addition to its wide product range across different industries and banks, in recent years the EBRD has also built a growing portfolio of investments (both equity and debt) in the Croatian commerce and agribusiness sector, for which demand remains high.
 
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