STA, 27 December 2019 - Agrokor, the owner of retailer Mercator, has turned to the EU to complain about the seizure of Mercator stock by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency which it says is motivated by "national political reasons".
In a letter to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and director general of the Commission's directorate general for competition Cecilio Madero Villarejo and the leaders of anti-trust authorities across the EU, Agrokor lays out the recent procedures involving Mercator stock, which it says are contrary to EU and Slovenian law.
The letter comes after the Slovenian anti-trust watchdog seized Agrokor's nearly 70% holding of Mercator shares because Agrokor broke the law by failing to notify the agency of the takeover of Slovenian water bottling company Costella three years ago.
Agrokor was initially fined EUR 54 million, but the agency later decided to seize the shares as a way to ensure that the fine is paid.
Agrokor claims the share seizure is "unconstitutional, arbitrary and illegal," and in the letter to the EU authorities Agrokor chairman Fabris Peruško says that the Slovenian government is using the Costella fine as an excuse to prevent Mercator stock from being transferred from the bankrupt Agrokor to the newly-established entity, Fortenova.
"The agency has exploited this fine as an excuse to seize 69.9% of Mercator... These procedures run contrary to Slovenian national law and practice, as well as EU law and constitute a violation of international law," he says.