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Commercial Court of Belgrade dismisses Agrokor's appeal in the procedure against Banca Intesa

Yesterday, 9th January 2020, Agrokor received the second instance judgment of the Commercial Court of Belgrade dismissing Agrokor's appeal and confirming the first instance judgment of 8th March 2019, ordering Agrokor to pay to the plaintiff Banca Intesa ad, Belgrade, the amount of EUR 15.2m plus interest and to settle the costs of the litigation procedure. Pursuant to the first instance judgment, that has now become final and non-appealable, Banca Intesa Belgrade can try to institute enforcement proceedings over the assets of Agrokor in Serbia.

Contrary to the statements from the judgment and in accordance with Agrokor's creditors' Settlement Plan in the Extraordinary Administration Procedure that became final and non-appealable on 18th October 2018 and the implementation whereof started on 1st April 2019, Banca Intesa Belgrade has already recovered its entire claim in question by having received equity and debt securities, in particular depositary receipts in the nominal amount of EUR 1.34m and convertible bonds in the nominal amount of EUR 5.4m, whereby it has become co-owner of Fortenova Group holding a 0.5 per cent share.

Furthermore, through the implementation of the Settlement Plan between Agrokor's creditors on 1st April 2019 the claim of Banca Intesa Belgrade was transferred to Fortenova Group TopCo, a company which is now the new creditor, following which Banca Intesa Belgrade currently has no more claims against Agrokor and has unfoundedly tried to recover its claims from the assets of Agrokor outside the Republic of Croatia.

Agrokor stated all the above in the aforementioned litigation procedure, which the court in Serbia unfortunately has not taken into account for procedural and not for substantive reasons. In particular, the Court holds that the relevant facts were not presented in the appropriate stage of the procedure, ie. by the conclusion of the main hearing on 8th March 2019, and has for that reason not taken them into consideration at all. However, the recovery of claims held by Banca Intesa Belgrade through the creditors' Settlement Plan only occured after that date, whereof Agrokor immediately notified the Court, which the Court could and in Agrokor's opinion should have taken into account.

This procedure and the possible later repeated recovery, against which Agrokor shall continue to fight by legal means given that the recovery has already happened, would not have been possible if the Extraordinary Administration Procedure was recognized in the Republic of Serbia, and a decision of the Constitutional Court related thereto is still pending. The procedure was recognised in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and EU Member States, which also leaves room for applying certain legal means in other jurisdictions as well.