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Deal 5: Kofola CFO Martin Pisklak on the Group's Refinancing

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On July 13, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Onisko & Holesova, Planinic Soljic & Partners, and solo practitioner Klemen Ticar advised Kofola on its refinancing. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Martin Pisklak, Group Chief Financial Officer at Kofola CeskoSlovensko, to learn more about the matter.

CEEIHM: To start, tell us a bit about Kofola.

Pisklak: The Kofola Group is one of the leading producers and distributors of non-alcoholic beverages in Central and Eastern Europe. Besides the traditional Czech and Slovak markets where the group is a leader, it is also present in Slovenia, Croatia, and Poland. The group produces drinks with care and love in eleven main production plants. Key own brands include carbonated beverages Kofola and Vinea, waters Radenska, Studenac, Rajec, Ondrasovka, and Korunní, syrup Jupi, beverages for children Jupik, energy drinks Semtex, and UGO fresh juices and salads. In selected markets, the group distributes among others Rauch, Evian, Badoit, or Vincentka products and, under license, produces RC Cola, Orangina, Rauch, or Pepsi. Our annual consolidated revenues are about EUR 350 million.

CEEIHM: You were recently advised on a new credit line of up to CZK 1 billion. What is the capital intended for?

Pisklak: This new credit line is predominantly intended for production and commercial equipment.

CEEIHM: As reported by CEELM, the credit line "implemented a more efficient and flexible management structure of the currency risk." Can you elaborate on how that looks in practice?

Pisklak: So far, the Kofola Group was financed in CZK only. However, approximately 60% of our business comes from countries with the euro currency. That is why we decided to change our debt structure from 100% CZK to 60/40% EUR/CZK. We were strongly motivated also by the huge difference between the PRIBOR and EURIBOR rates.

CEEIHM: What was the most complex aspect of the refinancing from a legal perspective?

Pisklak: Definitely the coordination between four jurisdictions: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia. The legal requirements and procedures differ from country to country – especially pledges and other security procedures. As we are a listed company, we were also required to receive approval from our shareholders' meeting. On the other hand, we are financed by a stable club of banks so the update of financing agreements was not difficult.

CEEIHM: And why did you pick Onisko & Holesova as your advisor on the matter?

Pisklak: The Kofola Group has been using the Onisko & Holesova law firm for more than 10 years and we are very satisfied with their proactive approach. Their scope of work is wide – reviewing sales/purchase contracts, corporate law agenda, due diligence work, SPA negotiation, litigations, and much more. They are able to cover the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They also coordinated the Klemen Ticar law firm in Slovenia and Planinic, Soljic and Partners law firm in Croatia.

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