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Slovenia Business Week no. 34: Mercator Strikes Macedonia and Croatia Deals with Domestic Rival

Mercator signed a deal with Velenje-based grocer Era on the purchase of land in the Macedonian capital of Skopje and acquired Era's shops in Croatia

Slovenia's largest grocer Mercator has acquired property in Macedonia and Croatia from a Slovenian rival with which it plans to step up its push on markets of the former Yugoslavia.

Mercator signed on Friday, 19 August a deal with Velenje-based grocer Era on the purchase of land in the Macedonian capital of Skopje. Mercator intends to build a mall on the 19,000 sq. metre lot.

Moreover, Mercator also acquired Era's shops in Croatia with which it gains 53,000 sq. metres in shop area and around SIT 25.6bn (EUR 107m) in sales, the company said.

According to Mercator chairman Zoran Jankovic, the two deals are valued at EUR 50m. He refused to specify how much each one was worth.

The purchases are in line with Mercator's strategy of expansion on the former Yugoslav markets.

The development comes only days after the company failed in bidding for a prime piece of real estate in Skopje and gave up on its attempts to acquire Serbia's leading grocer, C Market.

The acquisition of Era's shops in Croatia will raise Mercator's revenues in Slovenia's neighbour to SIT 64bn (EUR 267m). According to Jankovic, Mercator wants to become the second-largest grocer in Croatia.

Jankovic also told STA that Mercator was planning to acquire more land in Skopje for a second shopping centre.

The grocer intends to build a chain of large shopping centres in Macedonia before launching a number of smaller ones, he added.

The first centre, which is to be built on the land bought from Era, is expected to be opened in early 2007.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA