Croatia wants to block the planned purchase by a Hungarian investment fund of a 43% stake in leading food and retail group Fortenova to a Hungarian businessman supposed to be a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Nacional weekly reported on Sunday.
In a story titled “Big clash between Orban and Plenković”, Nacional said that Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is set to personally support the blocking of the deal, agreed in April, whereby the current owner, Russian bank Sberbank, would sell its stake to Hungary’s investment fund Indotek, which manages a portfolio of €3 billion.
Indotek Group is a financial conglomerate owned by Hungarian and US investors, specialising in real estate, financial services, logistics, and transport.
Plenković took the decision after he was informed of serious suspicions that Indotek’s owner Daniel Jellinek “is just a cover for the untransparent Hungarian capital linked directly to Orban,” Nacional wrote.
The decision to block the transaction in Fotenova, the region’s biggest agricultural producer, employing more than 50,000 people, was confirmed to Nacional by “several business and political sources.”
Croatia has already clashed with Hungary over the ownership and management of the biggest Croatian oil and gas concern INA, in which Hungary’s MOL is the biggest shareholder.
Relations have been further strained this year by Hungary’s continued business relations with Russia, including the purchase of gas, although Budapest nominally joined in EU-imposed sanctions.