RIGA - Nordic Food said it wanted to buy out minority shareholders in the Staburadze confectionery as part of wider plans to improve competitiveness and develop its line of products. The company, part of the Icelandic-owned Nordic Partners group, said it would pay 1.1 lats (1.5 euros) per share.
The Staburadze concern comprises food industry businesses Staburadzes Konditoreja, Saldumu Tirdznieciba, Laima, Euro Food, Noi Baltija as well as subsidiaries Laima Lita in Lithuania and Laima Eesti in Estonia.
Nordic Partners owns 82.44 percent in Staburadze, 85.71 percent in Laima, another popular confectionery, and 98.3 percent in the Gutta juice producer. It also owns Nordic Industrial Park and Nordic Technologies Park, Latvia's largest industrial parks.
Staburadze's profit last year was down 4 percent to 962,000 lats, though turnover grew 19 percent to 8.2 million lats, according to the annual report. Consolidated turnover amounted to 26.2 million lats, up 12.4 percent from 2003, and profit soared 39 percent to 1.4 million lats.
The board proposed last week to invest all profit into development and boosting competitiveness, which irked many shareholders. Some called for paying out 25 percent of last year's profit in dividends, but the proposal did not win sufficient support. The board's decision was ultimately approved.
Staburadze board chairman Juris Jonaitis told shareholders that Nordic Food was "not interested in paying dividends" and wanted to leave the company all the profit for further development.