The Podravka food company signed on Tuesday a contract with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and four business banks on a syndicated loan totalling EUR 123 million to a period of six years with a favourable interest rate for refinancing existing loan liabilities, capital investments and possible acquisitions.

The agreement was signed by Podravka Management Board chairman Zvonimir Mrsic, EBRD regional director for Croatia and Slovenia Vedrana Jelusic Kasic and representatives of Privredna Banka Zagreb, Raiffeisenbank Austria, Erste & Steiermarkische Bank and Slovenia's SKB bank. The lead arranger is the EBRD, including Unicredit Slovenia through the A/B structure.

Speaking after the signing, Jelusic Kasic said EUR 99 million of the loan would go for refinancing existing loan liabilities but at much better interest rates, equating Podravka's terms with those of its rivals in the Adria region. She said the loan would also enable stable growth for the entire Group and its further development, and that the remaining EUR 24 million would be at Podravka's disposal for investments and possible acquisitions.

Mrsic said the syndicated loan interest rate was about 100 percentage points lower than the current one, with expected annual savings of HRK 3.5 million. He said the contract was important for improving Podravka Group's efficiency, further business expansion to international markets and even better business results. He said the loan confirmed the trust financial institutions had in Podravka.

Representatives of the banks underlined the importance of Podravka as a partner and its success in restructuring and efficiency improvement.

Everyone underlined the importance of the acquisition of Slovenia's Zito, saying it strengthened Podravka's international position and financial results.

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