ZAGREB, April 4 (Reuters) - There is no guarantee that indebted Croatian food group Agrokor can be saved, the restructuring expert appointed to rescue the business said on Tuesday, describing the challenge as one of the toughest in his career.
“Time is of the essence. The situation is pretty acute,” Antonio Alvarez III told a news conference to unveil his team.
“There is no guarantee we will succeed. This is one of the most challenging situations that we are going to face.”
Agrokor, Croatia’s largest private company and the biggest food producer and retailer in the Balkans with some 60,000 employees, has struck a deal with six lenders led by Russia’s Sberbank and VTB to freeze repayments and get an unspecified cash injection.
As part of that deal, Alvarez, who works for consultants Alvarez&Marsal, has been tasked with stabilising the company and proposing a restructuring plan.
“I‘m appointed by the company and have no allegiance to any stakeholder ... I view my fundamental role as helping different groups to come to an agreement to save the business. I have a track record of having preserved lots of jobs and supplier relationships,” he told reporters.
“There is no guarantee we will be able to do all that here, but we’re going to try,” he added.
Agrokor’s debt, according to company data from last September, is 45 billion kuna ($6.5 billion), or six times its equity.
$1 = 6.9786 kuna Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Mark Potter