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(E) Croat tobacco firm attracts over 1 billion euros
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  03/21/2004 | Business | Unrated
(E) Croat tobacco firm attracts over 1 billion euros


Croatian tobacco firm attracts over 1 bln euro bids-paper

Monday March 22, 6:16 AM EST

ZAGREB, March 22 (Reuters) - Croatia's largest tobacco firm, Tvornica Duhana Rovinj (TDR) (TVDZ), has received binding takeover offers worth more then one billion euros from two global tobacco giants, local newspapers said on Monday. Markets and local media have long rumoured that TDR - the tobacco unit of Adris Grupa, which also has tourism and investment arms -- is on the wish list of British American Tobacco (BATS) and Philip Morris (MO). The two have independently of each other offered more than one billion euros ($1.23 billion) each for the factory, based in the northern Adriatic town of Rovinj, business daily Dnevnik reported, quoting independent and unofficial sources. TDR spokesman Predrag Grubic told Reuters he had no information on a possible deal and declined further comment. BAT said last year, in response to market rumours about a takeover, that it was interested in any tobacco business available for purchase.

The decision on a potential buyer is expected by end-April and Dnevnik said it was unclear if social and development programmes, financial construction or additional price talks would be a deciding factor.
TDR's share price gained one percent to 2,830 kuna ($468) on the Zagreb Stock Exchange on Monday morning with 700 shares traded. It last closed at 2,800 kuna on Friday on turnover of 1.4 million kuna.
"The company's market value is currently high, but it will go down if the deal does not go through," said a local broker. "This sale has been talked about ever since TDR was listed, over six months ago," he said, adding he did not expect any official word from TDR until the deal was completed.

TDR, listed on the public firms' tier of the local Zagreb bourse, last year split its shares into 10 and changed its name to Adris Grupa, a parent comapny whose basic operations are investment and management.

Its tobacco business is run by a subsidiary firm which kept the name TDR. It has another daughter company which manages hotel firms owned by the old TDR.

©2004 Reuters Limited.

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