TALLINN - Prominent Estonian oil transit figures Anatoli Kanajev and Aadu Luukas have sold the soybean oil refinery they set up in the Muuga area to Russkoye Maslo (Russian Oil), an industrial group that owns analogous plants in Russia. The sellers wouldn't disclose the price they were paid for the plant that they owned in equal shares. At the end of last year the owners' equity jumped from 5 million to 74 million kroons (320,00 to 4.7 million euros).
Kanajev, co-founder and shareholder of the Muuga refinery, told the business daily Aripaev that the founders had been looking for partners to help launch production and that they decided to sell when the Russian group that they had teamed up with wanted to have majority shares. "We decided that they were in a position to cope better with the production tasks, while we would be dealing with supplies," Kanajev said, adding that the Russian group owned three or four more plants in Russia. Refining of soybean oil is to kick off at Muuga next year.
Kanajev said the deal was in the interest of all parties because it would secure the launch of the plant and increase freight flows. The refinery will need an estimated 1,000 tons of soybeans per day, a figure that may eventually climb to 1,500-2,000 tons. "It is not realistic that this amount can be obtained in Estonia," the businessman said, adding that their holding Transiidikeskus (Transit Center) would take care of supply. In addition to that comes the shipment of output, estimated from 500,000 to a million tons per year. Luukas and Kanajev rank among the richest persons in Estonia.