July 19, 2019 / 1:10 PM / 4 months ago

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

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ZAGREB, July 19 (Reuters) - Croatian food company Fortenova Grupa, the Balkan region’s biggest firm by sales, is preparing to issue a four-year bond worth up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.35 billion), it said on Friday.

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

“The interest rate will be 7.3% plus Euribor,” Fortenova said.

The liquidity loan, whose maturity was last year extended until September of this year, has a progressive interest rate of up to 14%.

The issue is pending approval by its shareholders - the largest of which is Russia’s Sberbank - and will be discussed at the company’s general assembly, scheduled for July 26.

The arrangers are U.S. fund HPS Investment Partners and Russian bank VTB.

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 = 0.8902 euros Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Jan Harvey

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