Shipping companyÕs sale deadline moved to May

  • 2001-02-15
  • BNS
VILNIUS - On Feb. 7 the Lithuanian government extended the deadline for completing negotiations with the Danish shipping firm DFDS Tor Line on the sale of a controlling stake in the Lithuanian Shipping Company until May 1 but said they hoped to close a deal earlier.

The Cabinet of Ministers made the decision because it was obvious that the talks could not be completed by the earlier deadline of Feb. 15, Ona Jukneviciene, an adviser to the prime minister on privatization matters, told the Baltic News Service.

The Lithuanian State Property Fund and DFDS Tor Line officially launched negotiations on the sale of 76.36 percent of shares in the shipping company on Feb. 7. It was decided that both parties would draw up action plans and guidelines for the talks.

The Lithuanian government allowed the state property fund to begin negotiations with DFDS Tor Line, which has taken over the rights and obligations from the Netherlands-based company B.B. Bredo B.V., last week.

Bredo signed a privatization deal in October but failed to make a payment for the shares by the Dec. 1 deadline. On the basis of the existing deal with Bredo, the government and DFDS Tor Line will negotiate the terms of a supplementary agreement, taking into account the Danish companyÕs interest in the Lithuanian Shipping CompanyÕs ro/ro and ro/pax operations, and LithuaniaÕs wish to revise certain items in the deal.

Lithuania seeks to negotiate a higher price and larger investments than those agreed with Bredo. The government wants to receive at least $51.2 million for the majority stake, or 5.11 litas ($1.28) a share, and says that investments in the company should reach at least $92 million.

Government officials have said on several occasions that the interests of the Lithuanian Shipping CompanyÕs minority shareholders and Lithuanian carriers would be taken into consideration during the negotiations.