Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Saturday that the government's aim was for the Agrokor food company to ensure, if possible, liquidity and a restructuring plan on its own as well as long-term sustainability.
Plenkovic was speaking in an interview with the RTL commercial television channel after returning from Rome where he had signed the Rome Declaration together with the leaders of 26 other EU members states and of European institutions.
Plenkovic said that the government, by following the practices of other EU member states, was looking at how to help consolidate the Croatian financial and economic system.
He recalled that Agrokor had 60,000 employees and numerous suppliers, adding that the company was "extremely important for the functioning of the Croatian financial and economic system."
"We want to help processes that will ensure the security of employees, suppliers and creditors as well as the very functioning of the company," the prime minister said, stressing that the government was behaving responsibly. He added that the government had not initiated any processes on the capital market or in the business comunity that could be regarded as damaging to Agrokor.
He said that the government wanted to prepare an appropriate legislative and institutional framework in the event that intervention on the part of the state was necessary.
Asked if it was possible that Agrokor might break up into dozens of smaller units, Plenkovic said that such a scenario was not discussed. "At this moment, no one can know that," he said, adding that the government's aim was to ensure an effective restructuring of the company. "What it will be like eventually is not for me or the government to decide."
Asked what he thought of the future of Agrokor's owner Ivica Todoric, Plenkovic said that Todoric had put his whole life into such a big project and right now had the biggest responsibility for the company's future. "I believe he is working in the best interest of what has created to date," the PM said.
Plenkovic said that right now Agrokor, like any other company on the market, could start a restructuring process for its own benefit. He added that the government had a duty to look after the interests of the Croatian state and its economic and financial system.
Plenkovic confirmed that the Bridge party, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, was familiar with the new bill on vital companies for the Croatian economy. "The draft needs to be studied still and experts need to be additionally consulted," he said, adding that Bridge was fully acquainted with the activities the government was undertaking in this situation.