Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that Adris was too important and too successful a company and that, in case of a hostile takeover, there were regulatory mechanisms and that any wrongdoing would be prevented.

Asked by reporters what he thought about a takeover of the Adris tourism and insurance group, possibly a hostile one, Milanovic said the government had no jurisdiction over the company but that it was "too important and too successful a company that successfully transformed itself, shifting from the tobacco business to high profit tourism, mariculture."

"As for a hostile takeover, there are regulatory mechanisms, agencies which deal with that, and the judiciary, and I'm sure we'll prevent any wrongdoing," the premier said.

Citing a source close to Adris, Novi List daily reported today that the Czech-Slovak investment fund J&T was interested in buying out the co-owners in Adris and taking over management rights. The paper said that J&T representatives were expected to talk with several Adris stockholders in Rovinj today and that former Adris Board member Plinio Cuccurin had allegedly signed an option contract with the fund.

According to Novi List, small shareholders were also invited to the talks so that J&T could gain at least 25 percent in Adris, whose shareholders claim they are under pressure to sell their interests now that the company is "flush", as nearly EUR 550 million has been deposited in Adris' accounts after British American Tobacco bought Adris' Rovinj Tobacco Factory.

Responding to a query from Hina, Adris said, "We can't comment on media reports about an Adris takeover. We can only confirm that representatives of the J&T fund, as part of an already arranged visit to Rovinj, contacted Ante Vlahovic, a major shareholder, and proposed a meeting. As chairman of the Board, Vlahovic rejected the proposal with the explanation that the fund's representatives, if there is useful information for our business system, can arrange a meeting with Adris group executives."

J&T said via the IM&C PR agency that only preliminary contacts had been made with Adris and that all the details about any potential cooperation would be released when conditions allowed.

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