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Mercator Expanding into Fuel Retail, Mobile Telephony

Ljubljana, 24 April (STA) - Retailer Mercator will expand its services to mobile telephony, tourism and petrol stations, Dean Čerin of Mercator told the press at the Slovenian capital market roadshow on Tuesday. The retailer also announced further sales of its properties.

"It is not enough to offer some basic products to be different, everybody can do that," Čerin stressed, explaining that the company would focus on the development of its network of self-service petrol stations.

Touching on last year's acquisition of En Plus, Čerin said that "we have taken over a company that has 18 self-service petrol stations around Slovenia and we aim to expand the offer to locations where we have big hypermarkets".

Mercator will build its own petrol stations in the vicinity of hypermarkets in Slovenia as well as other markets where it is present, the head of strategic finances and risk management at Mercator added.

Čerin moreover said that Mercator would continue selling its real estate, planning to offload some EUR 500m worth of buildings this and next year.

"The idea is to spend the entire proceeds on paying off the debt," he explained. Mercator wants to reduce its dependence on Slovenian banks with the move, Čerin added.

According to him, Mercator, which has EUR 1.7m worth of real estate in its portfolio, is an atypical retailer, owning 80% of the real estate it uses.