Studenac accelerates its buy-and-build strategy

Studenac, an Enterprise Investors portfolio company and Croatia’s most dynamically growing grocery retail chain, has announced that it will acquire Lonia, a retailer with 300 stores.

  • The deal is part of Studenac’s ambitious growth strategy to become the leading pure-play proximity supermarket chain in the Adria region;
  • The value of the transaction has not been disclosed.

Lonia Trgovina is a chain of 300 grocery retail stores operating in continental Croatia. Seventy-five of its shops are in the Zagreb metropolitan area, where Studenac has only a handful of stores. The acquisition will complement Studenac’s geographic coverage and will transform the company into a fully fledged nationwide player with the highest number of stores.

Enterprise Investors acquired Studenac in August 2018. At the time, the chain numbered over 380 shops located predominantly on the Croatian coastline and islands, with a hub in Dalmatia. Studenac subsequently integrated five large add-ons – Istarski Supermarketi and Sonik in 2019, Bure in 2021 and Pemo and Lonia in 2022 – as well as several smaller targets with fewer stores. The acquisitions, jointly valued at over EUR 120 million, added 595 shops to the chain. The company has also been growing organically and is on track to complete 100 store openings in 2022. After taking over Lonia, the Studenac chain will have more than 1,050 shops and countrywide coverage. The company’s dominant position is reflected in its strong financial results – the merged company is set to generate revenues in excess of EUR 500 million in 2022.

“I am extremely proud of the results of the hard work my team and I have put into this project. When we took over Studenac in 2018 we had an ambitious plan to become the number one player in Croatia. It took us three years to become by far the largest proximity supermarket chain in the region. We are no longer the brand of choice only for tourists visiting the Adriatic riviera but also for the many Croatians who do their quick daily shopping under the Studenac brand,” said Michał Seńczuk, Studenac’s CEO.

“We have injected over EUR 260 million into Croatia’s grocery retail and plan to continue investing in this sector. We are delighted with the results attained by Michał Seńczuk and his team and are convinced the company will keep growing in the years to come,” added Enterprise Investors partner Michał Kędzia, who is leading this investment. “The change we brought to Studenac is both quantitative and qualitative. Today, a Studenac store is a place where you can conveniently do your quick daily shopping, enjoy a coffee and snack on-the-go, collect deliveries and pay utility bills. Studenac is clearly raising the quality of proximity shopping to the next level,” he concluded.