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LJUBLJANA, June 22 (Reuters) - Russia's Sberbank, the biggest creditor in ailing Croatian food group Agrokor, said it will auction an 18.53 percent stake in Agrokor-owned food retailer Mercator on July 7 to help reduce Agrokor's debt.
The minimum price at the auction will be 40.58 million euros ($45 million) and the sale will cut Agrokor's debt to the Russian bank, Sberbank said in a statement on Thursday.
The bank has the right to seize the Mercator shares, which Agrokor had offered as collateral for Sberbank's loan.
Agrokor, the biggest employer in the Balkans with about 60,000 staff, was put under state management in April after it built up debts of at least 40.4 billion kuna ($6 billion) during a rapid expansion in the region.
Apart from Sberbank, Russian VTB bank and several Croatian banks are among Agrokor's creditors, as well as Agrokor bondholders and suppliers. ($1 = 0.8949 euros) ($1 = 6.6351 kuna) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Susan Fenton)