A €170 million syndicated loan to the largest Croatian food company, Agrokor d.d., with strong ice cream, edible oil, mineral water and retail operations, for restructuring its balance sheet and investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The proceeds from the loan will be used to finance:
- restructuring of the balance sheet by replacing ad hoc short-term debt provided by local banks with long-term financing;
- development of Agrokor’s core business including its recent Bosnian acquisitions; and
- working capital requirements.
This project is expected to have a significant transition impact, which is likely to derive from:
- Support for the reintegration of the Balkans economies. The Balkans suffer from their small populations as well as the recent trauma of war; economic reintegration is necessity both for political stability of the region and to permit companies of sufficient economic size to compete medium-term. As one of the strongest players in the region’s food sector already realising its ambitions to expand through the region, Agrokor is a prime example of this positive trend. The company is one of very few foreign investors in the Bosnian food and agriculture sector.
- Facilitation of local companies’ access to international capital markets. The syndicated loan will raise the profile of Croatian corporates in the international debt markets with the potential of other Croatian corporates to raise long-term financing in this market. The loan may also facilitate the envisaged initial public offering of the company.
- Financial restructuring of one of the most successful local food companies in the Bank’s countries of operations. The group is a positive example of long-term focused investment and restructuring of several important food sectors in both countries. The company’s high standards will also positively influence its local business partners (both suppliers and customers).
- Development of strong regional brands. The project will contribute to the development of strong regional brands acquiring sufficient size to face competition from multinational players upon further development of those markets. The project will thereby contribute to continued improvement in product quality on the market and consumer choice.
Agrokor d.d. is the largest Croatian food company and one of the largest Croatian companies. It is a vertically integrated producer and distributor of food products and was built to its present form through a succession of acquisitions, mainly from 1991 and 1994 following its privatisation programme.
The EBRD is providing a senior secured loan of €70 million, with €90 million from syndication banks and an additional €10 million to be syndicated in the future for follow-on projects.
The project is rated C/1. The environmental due diligence conducted by the Bank's environmental specialists revealed no significant environmental problems associated with Agrokor's operations, and demonstrated the company's commitment to environmental issues. For example, the company has initiated waste management programmes in its retail operation and its mineral water production, with the latter bearing the green cube insignia awarded to Croatian companies actively engaged in mitigating the impact of waste and harmful substances on the environment. The company additionally has introduced an HACCP system (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) at Ledo and Zvijezda for all consumer products. The application and control of this internationally recognised system enables preventive control in food production and ensures compliance with health protection standards. Agrokor will operate its facilities in accordance with national and EU environment, health and safety standards, and has agreed with the Bank on an Environmental Action Plan to support the company's efforts to obtain ISO certification for production quality and environmental management at its facilities.
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