19 Oct 2017 16:31

Russia, Croatia agree to continue talks on Agrokor - Gref

MOSCOW. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Russia and Croatia have agreed to continue talks on resolving the situation with the troubled Croatian retailer Agrokor, Sberbank CEO Herman Gref said in an interview for the Rossiya 24 news channel.

He said that the talks on Agrokor by the Croatian and Russian sides in Sochi on Wednesday were constructive.

"A consultation is currently under way, this issue also came up during the meeting with the Croatian President [Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovich], on how the current situation needs to be changed to find a more reasonable state of better relations which would perhaps help us reach the goals that the Croatian government and lenders have set themselves," Gref said.

He said that the goals of the Croatian government and lenders are "that the company continues to operate, its financial solvency is restored and debts are gradually repaid."

"There was a very constructive dialogue yesterday. The Croatian President was understanding of the situation and was completely committed to maintaining and developing the investment climate in Croatia. We agreed to continue the consultation to develop a mutually acceptable resolution," the Sberbank chief said.

Gref said that Sberbank is hoping to get back some of the loans issued to the retailer regardless of how the situation develops. "Of course we would like to get back the most money possible, but at the same time, of course, reach a complete understanding with the Croatian government, so that principally, our goals coincide," the Sberbank chief said, adding that Agrokor accounts for 18% of Croatia's GDP, more than Rosneft and Sberbank in Russia.

"Of course we are all confronted with the problem that for the last seven years the company has falsified its reporting and deceived its lenders. The government too, strictly speaking. All at once, we were all faced with the fact that the company was insolvent," Gref said. He also repeated his opinion that the actions of the Croatian government regarding Agrokor infringe the rights of all of the company's lenders.

The Croatian government adopted a law to resolve the financially troubled company's problems. According to Sberbank, this law infringes the lenders of such companies, including Agrokor.