TALLINN - The four companies that have set their sights on acquiring a listing on the Tallinn Stock Exchange - Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railway), Tallinna Vesi (Tallinn Water), the Teede REV-2 road construction firm and Starman - last year posted an aggregate profit of 491 million kroons (31.3 million euros), which is testimony to the financial weight they carry.
Eesti Raudtee is by far the biggest of the four, with annual sales of 1.76 billion and a net profit of 347 million kroons last year. The company is 66 percent owned by Baltic Rail Services and 34 percent owned by the state and this year paid dividends to the tune of 96 million kroons.
Baltic Rail Services is particularly interested in seeing the shares listed, though Economy Minister Andrus Ansip, who represents the state in general meetings of shareholders, has spoken against the move.
Tallinn Water, which is owned by the city of Tallinn and United Utilities, last year netted almost 105 million kroons on sales of 503 million kroons. Owners said they each planned to sell a 15 percent stake to the public. The city hopes to earn 300 million kroons from the sale, which some securities specialists consider too optimistic an expectation.
Tallinna Vesi paid out 75 million kroons in dividends this year.
The Teede REV-2 road construction company posted sales of 551 million kroons and a net profit of 25 million kroons last year, while a year earlier the company netted 47 million kroons. As of the end of May its major owners were Alta Capital, a local investment company, and two private individuals. The firm paid dividends in the sum of 5 million kroons in 2004.
Starman, the Internet and cable TV provider, last year posted earnings of 14 million kroons on sales of 106 million kroons. Some 64.2 percent of the company's stock belongs to the international investment fund Royalton Capital Investors and the rest to Estonian companies. It paid dividends of 2.6 million kroons this year.
According to a representative of the majority owner, Starman could be listed next spring or summer. For this, the majority owner intends to sell a part of its holding.
Currently there are 13 companies listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange.