RIGA - The council of Latvia's Rigas Juras Linijas (Riga Sea Lines) dismissed the company's board on Aug. 29 and appointed Janis Butnors as the new chairman in a major shake-up that could lead to dramatic changes in the way the shipper operates.
Council Chairman Vladimirs Makarovs explained that council members had decided to replace the board in order to ensure future prospects, which recently have come under doubt. He said the decision to replace the board was unanimous.
The board's performance came under scrutiny after Estonia's Tallink announced plans to launch its passenger-ferry service between Riga and Stockholm after being invited to do so by Transport Minister Ainars Slesers.
Riga Sea Line's shareholders had voiced dissatisfaction with the shipping company's performance. Managers began looking into options for the shipper's further development, including boosting authorized capital, leasing the Baltic Kristina ferry to another operator, changing ferry routes and even liquidating the company.
Last year, Riga Sea Lines carried 78,292 passengers between Riga and Stockholm, or some 8 percent more than in 2003.
In 2004, it increased sales by 11 percent to 5.5 million lats (7.9 million euros) but ended the year 494,000 lats in the red.
Riga Sea Line shareholders are the Riga City Council, with a 35.48 percent stake, the Astramar company, 27.51 percent, Riga Free Port administration, 19.72 percent, Ilmaco Limited, 9.77 percent, Juris Sabasovs, 4.39 percent and Vjaceslavs Sprisevskis, 3.12 percent.
Martins Krutans, Inita Baumane and Inita Andze are the new board members, while chairman Gatis Kamaruts and board members Irina Bugrova, Martins Gorjuns and Bella Murina lost their seats.
The new board will start working on Aug. 30.