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Agrokor Files Charges Against Croatian Regulator on Belje Shares

Agrokor d.d., Croatia’s largest private company, is suing the market regulator over its decision in October that Agrokor must complete the takeover of its agricultural facility, Belje d.d.

Agrokor filed charges to the Constitutional and to the Administrative court claiming the regulator known as Hanfa violated its constitutional rights by requesting on Oct. 6 that Zagreb-based company buy all of Belje’s shares following its acquisition of a majority in Belje, Hanfa said today in a statement on its website.

Agrokor, which bought Belje shares in 2005 and 2007, now owns 67 percent of the eastern Croatian agricultural plant. The purchase of the remaining shares may cost Agrokor as much as 100 million euros ($134 million) because it will have to offer about 300 kuna per share, the price of Belje’s stock when Agrokor’s obligation originated in 2007. Belje’s shares were trading at 90 kuna per share at 1:44 p.m. today.

The deadline for completing the takeover was Dec. 5, Hanfa said, adding that Agrokor has failed to comply.

Agrokor’s representatives said they were preparing a statement when reached by phone in Zagreb.

Croatia’s largest food manufacturer on Oct. 17 made a non-binding offer for Slovenia’s Mercator Poslovni Sistem d.d. of 840 million euros ($1.12 billion) as it expands further in the Balkans. Negotiations are under way with Mercator’s owners.

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