Russia's Sberbank increases share in Fortenova Group to around 44%

MOSCOW, March 29 (Reuters) - Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, said on Monday it had increased its stake in Fortenova Group to around 44% by swapping its shares in Slovenian food retailer Mercator.

In the cash-free transaction, Sberbank raised its stake in Fortenova Group, which operates in retail, food production and agriculture in southern Europe, by 4%, bringing it to 44%, the bank said.

It said it had used its put option on its 18.5% stake in Mercator to complete the transaction.

Fortenova, formerly known as Agrokor, was saved from bankruptcy in a restructuring deal which included a change of the name and the ownership structure.

Reporting by Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Lisa Shumaker