Croatia's biggest company facing bankruptcy
The imminent collapse of Croatia's largest company could cost the country 60,000 jobs. The food and retail giant Agrokor, headed by business mogul Ivica Todorić, is reportedly no longer able to repay its debts to Russian state-owned Sberbank. The press blames not just Todorić but also the Croatian state for the fact that so many people must now fear the loss of their job.
Sacred cow spared for too long
The state turned a blind eye to Todorić's questionable business practices the whole time and now Croatia as a whole must pay the price, writes Novi list:
“It is estimated that if Agrokor goes bankrupt it will drag 150,000 people down with it in Croatia alone - Todorić's employees and suppliers and their families. … While Finance Minister Zdravko Marić is traipsing all over the world trying to get the national debt refinanced, Todorić's Agrokor owes the state 800 million euros in VAT. The state shares the blame for the imminent bankruptcy. No one should act like they didn't know this was coming. Todorić was always a sacred cow. The anti-trust authorities tiptoed around him like a shy deer. The tax authorities trembled at the mere mention of his name. Governments kowtowed to his clout, parties wooed him and media groups praised their biggest advertising client to the skies. Because we have such an irresponsible political caste, all Croatia must now pay the penalty.”
Agrokor - but not Todorić- must be saved
The government must do all it can to save Agrokor, writes Večernji list:
“When the Russian ambassador, wearing his medal-studded uniform, announced that Russia's state bank didn't want to give Agrokor any more loans, it was clear that the hare Todorić was on the Russian bear's hit list. But Todorić refuses to go on his knees to anyone, and is convinced that Prime Minister Plenković and his entire government will do all they can to save Croatia's largest company because otherwise they will be dragged down with it. But saving Agrokor by no means has to mean saving Ivica Todorić. The Croatian government would do well to rid itself of Croatia's biggest tycoon. Plenković must swallow his pride [he is believed to be anti- Russian], sit down with the Russians and work out a deal that will buy him time to save jobs that Croatia wouldn't be able to replace.”