Snoras opens doors in Estonia

  • 2005-11-16
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Lithuania's Snoras Bank opened its representation office in Estonia last week, announcing that it planned to occupy an important niche in the local market, which has only six banks. Snoras President Raimondas Baranauskas said the bank's launching of operations in Estonia was a logical step after it acquired an 83-percent holding in Latvijas Krajbanka (Latvian Savings Bank). He added that the representative office would collect information on the Estonian market and prepare for opening an office in the future.

"By the opening of the representation, we hope to achieve sufficient experience in order to later fill an important niche on the retail banking market," Baranauskas said.

He added that the bank was already entitled to provide cross-border banking services in Estonia, in accordance with a European Union regulation. He also said that applying the "mini-bank model" or providing leasing services was not ruled out.

Snoras could possibly buy out a local bank, as it did in Latvia, Baranauskas said.

Snoras is 49.89 percent controlled by Russian Konversbank through the Luxembourg-registered Conversgroup Holding Company. The bank has representations in Moscow, Minsk, Kiev and Riga.

Meanwhile, minority shareholders in Latvian Savings Bank have refused to sell their shares to Snoras through the mandatory buyout offer, according to the Riga Stock Exchange.

The mandatory buyout offer, according to which Snoras offered to pay shareholders 3.15 lats (4.48 euros) per share of Latvian Savings Bank, expired on Nov. 8. Upon expiry of the offer, Snoras held no more than 83.01 percent in Latvian Savings Bank. At the end of September, the bank ranked 11th among 23 in Latvia.