Ljubljana, 18 February (STA) – A little more than a year after the eighth attempted sale of Mercator, the same investors are still interested in buying Slovenia’s biggest retailer, but the circumstances have changed drastically, the daily Delo says in Monday’s front page commentary entitled “Now It’s for Real. Period.”.

Mercator itself, the “bride”, is no longer as shiny, but seems ill and has lost weight. The diagnosis, which might not be final, is not fatal, but recovery will not be quick, the paper says.

The owners are now more determined than ever to sell their shares, as the biggest two, beverage company Pivovarna Union and the state-owned NLB bank, are in desperate need of cash.

It seems that politicians, or at least those with decision-making power, are also starting to see the sale as a good move in the current circumstances.

Suppliers, who have so far dreaded the sale of Mercator to Croatia’s rival Agrokor, have struggled to stay alive in this past year so much that Agrokor no longer seems the worst that can happen to them.

The paper expects the management of the company also to be cooperative in a bid to keep their jobs.

Only the traditional advocates of national interest and food producers might still oppose the sale and use the issue in political campaign before the possible early election, the paper says.

But the painful fact about the sale is that the price for a share now will be significantly lower than a year ago and the question is whether the expectations of those who are selling cooled down at least as much as the stock market price for a share and Mercator’s business results, the paper says.