July 26, 2019 / 1:33 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Fortenova Grupa approves 4-year bond worth up to 1.2 bln euros

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SARAJEVO, July 26 (Reuters) - Croatian food company Fortenova Grupa, the Balkan region’s biggest firm by sales, said on Friday that more than 80% of its shareholders had supported the issuance of a four-year bond worth up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

The bond is aimed at financing a 1.1 billion euro liquidity loan the firm, formerly known as Agrokor, took two years ago to avoid bankruptcy, the company said in a statement. That followed an expansion drive based on high and expensive debt.

The shareholders - the largest of which is Russia’s Sberbank - approved the move at the company’s general assembly in Amsterdam on Friday.

“The vote result shows that a vast majority of our shareholders has recognised the importance of a new financing ... aiming to secure mid-term stability, as well as a long-term sustainability, growth and development of the company,” Fortenova CEO Fabris Perusko said in a statement.

The interest rate will be 7.3% plus Euribor, while arrangers will be led by U.S. fund HPS Investment Partner and the deal will be concluded by the end of August, Fortenova said.

Agrokor was put into state administration in April 2017 and rescued after a settlement deal among creditors a year ago. The new owners changed the company’s name to Fortenova in April.

Fortenova said its first-half revenues had been assessed at 1.53 billion euros, up more than 2% from the same period of 2018. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were assessed at 101 million euros, up 5%.

$1 = 0.8984 euros Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Mark Potter

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