VILNIUS - A foreign investment firm has agreed to purchase a majority interest in Novaturas, a leading tour operator in the Baltics, for some 138 million litas (40 million euros), Novaturas officials announced Nov. 29.
Executives at Enterprise Investors, a Warsaw-based capital management firm and the largest private equity fund in Central and Eastern Europe, said they decided to purchase the tour operator in order to increase their exposure to the dynamic Baltic economies.
Sebastian Krol, a partner with Enterprise Investors, told a news conference in Vilnius that the firm was expecting Balts to spend more money on travel as incomes rise and consumers spend more money on trips abroad.
He also said Enterprise Investors wanted to consolidate its holdings in tour operating firms throughout the region.
"We want to make Novaturas a central axis of tour operators' consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe," he said.
The acquisition is Enterprise Investors' first investment in the Baltic states.
The deal also represents one of the largest transactions in Lithuania's services sector in the last seven years, according to reports.
The exact size of the stake Enterprise Investors will purchase and the names of the companies that will maintain holdings in Novaturas were not disclosed.
According to media reports, the list of Novaturas' shareholders has included five companies as of late 's West Express, Delta-Interservis, Baltic Clipper, Baltic Travel Service and Saitas.
The tour operator was established by three travel agencies 's Delta, Baltic Clipper and Interservis 's late in 1999.
Last year Novaturas saw its sales jump 27.9 percent to 232 million litas (67.2 million euros). This year it is expecting the top line to soar some 37 percent.