TALLINN - The new owner of the popular Delfi portals announced that the company expected to keep a 40 percent market share in the Internet advertisement market, partly with the help of a new series of Web sites that will soon be launched.
Priit Leito, manager of the Ekspress Group, the leading Estonian media group that purchased Delfi this summer, said the company would launch a new version of its portal 's Delfi 2 's by the end of this year.
Delfi 2 will feature new functions and offer extra opportunities for the sale of advertisements, Leito said, adding that the new portals will work side by side with the original Delfi sites.
He said that Delfi's share of the Internet advertisement market is currently 48 percent and that Ekspress Group expects to maintain a market share of over 40 percent in the coming years.
There is still room for growth in online advertising in the Baltics, Leito said, pointing out comparisons in Internet advertising in the Baltic states with Finland and Sweden.
In Estonia, the volume of Internet advertising is set to surpass that of radio advertising either late this year or in 2008, Leito said.
The Ekspress Group's acquisition of the Delfi portals will create synergies in advertising sales and help reinforce the group's position in the rapidly growing market, he added.
Delfi expects to earn a net profit of 39 million kroons (2.5 million euros) on sales of 117.5 million kroons this year.
The Ekspress Group, Estonia's largest publisher, is in the process of acquiring the firm that created and runs the Delfi portals 's six of which are in the Baltic states and one in Ukraine.
At an extraordinary shareholders meeting on Aug. 31, Ekspress Group owners approved the 54 million euro acquisition.
Leito told shareholders of Ekspress Group, which earlier this year went public via an IPO and is now listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange, that Delfi's revenues are expected to rise 30 percent annually in the upcoming years.
In 2006 the Ekspress Group posted sales of 929 million kroons and a net profit of 94 million kroons.
The group publishes some of Estonia's most well known newspapers and magazines, including Eesti Paevaleht, the country's third largest daily, and the free daily series under the name Linnaleht.