RIGA - Douglas Holding, one of Europe's largest retailers, was poised to enter the Latvian market by purchasing shares of the Kolonna holding, sources said.
Zane Saleniece, spokeswoman for Kolonna, said that Douglas Holding, which is headquartered in Hagen, Germany, has purchased shares in Baltic Cosmetics Holding, operator of the Kolonna and Esthetique network of retail shops.
The company did not provide more detailed comments on the transaction before The Baltic Times went to press on Aug. 15.
Ieva Plaude, chairwoman of Kolonna, told the Baltic News Service that Baltic Cosmetics Holding, which is co-owned with Swedish investors, was considering four potential buyers for a further sale of shares in the near future.
She said that after 2008 East Capital, an investment manager that owns 45 percent of Baltic Cosmetics Holding, would sell the shares since the investment funds participation in companies such as BCH was regarded as temporary.
International perfume retail chain Parfumerie Douglas, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, which owns the Drogas chain, as well as European perfume company Sephora could become potential buyers of the company, said Plaude.
"It is possible that I will purchase company shares," added Plaude.
Plaude established Baltic Cosmetics Holding in cooperation with the Swedish investor East Capital in October 2004.
She owns 55 percent of company stock, while 45 percent was held by Swedish investment fund East Capital.
The Douglas Group boasts 1,700 specialty stores in 18 countries. Together they employ 22,000 people. The group posted sales of 2.7 billion euros in fiscal 2005 - 6.
Douglas Holding AG carries out investment and management services for Douglas Group subsidiaries, according to the holding's Web site.
The Douglas brand name was started in Hamburg, Germany, by a Scotsman, J.S. Douglas, who emigrated to Germany in the first half of the 19th century and later opened a perfumery and soap factory.
The Latvian business register information shows that the only owner of BCH Retail is BCH SH, which in turn belongs to Plaude (55 percent) and a Swedish company Fashion and Styling Consortium FSC (45 percent).
BCH Retail generated 9.3 million lats (13.3 million euros) in turnover in 2006 and posted earnings of 416,900 lats.
BCH Retail owns 33 shops of the Kolonna and Esthetique brands.