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Care has 10 percent, and Savoury Spreads a nine percent share. Distribution of principal brands accounts for 17 percent of total sales.” Atlantic Grupa went public in 2007 with the region’s largest initial public offering for a purely private-sector company, as opposed to a privatisation sale. Around 26,000 individuals and 150 institutions, including Croatia’s main pension funds, bought shares. The company has delivered growth for six years straight. “Atlantic started off in 1991 with the distribution of Wrigley chewing gums, as a small company of seven employees,” says Kasapović. “Emil Tedeschi was at the time 24, and by then had gathered respectable managerial experience. He started his working career in the UK and Italy where he served as Director of the Milan Branch of Meteor Holding Ltd, one of the biggest European paper trading companies at the time. He returned to Croatia in 1991 to open and manage the company’s Croatian subsidiary but he soon found Meteor Holding shutdown by its creditors, and himself out of a job, in a country just starting a military defence against aggression. With his colleagues he founded Atlantic Trade and accepted the offer to distribute Wrigley assortment in the Croatian market. To many people at the time, distributing gums in a country at a war, where flour, oil, and other basic commodities were lucrative, sounded ludicrous. Little did they know that this would kick off an extensive distribution business and this company would, in 20 years, be one of the leading players not only in the FMCG distribution but also in the food industry in the whole region.” Over the years Atlantic has made a number of clever and strategic acquisitions, chief among them the purchases of Cedevita (2001), Neva (2004), Haleko (2005), Multivita (2007), Dietpharm (2007) and finally Droga Kolinska (2010). “We acquired Slovenian-Serbian food giant Droga Kolinska in a bid to strengthen our position in SE Europe,” says Kasapović. “Droga Kolinska was the perfect match for Atlantic Grupa. Atlantic was selected as the best bidder, not only price-wise, but equally 19

European Outlook / Issue 2  

European Outlook / Issue 2

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