RIGA - Rietumu bank has become the new owner of the sports hall Arena Riga, reports Web site Nozare.lv. The bank acquired 100 percent of the shares in Arena Riga through its subsidiary Ar Entertainment Limited at the end of last year.
The entertainment venue was bought from Genadijs Bondariks, who owned 60 percent of Arena shares, his wife Jelena, who owned 10 percent and from the firm Arena Invests, which owned the remaining 30 percent. The details of the deal were not revealed.
The sports hall was built in 2006 in preparation for the ice hockey world championship. The building’s total area is 22,570 square meters. Last year 129 events took place in the venue.
“It is clear that a competitor to the arena will not appear in Latvia in the near future. An events calendar has already been drawn up for a long time to come. Taking into consideration these advantages, plus the arena’s effective management, Arena Riga is making a profit and does not have any credit liabilities. The bank has a reason to consider that this business has good prospects,” stressed Grodnikovs.
He mentioned that Arena Riga consists of a large territory - six hectares - between Skanstes Street and Vesetas Street, available for development of which an “ambitious, well-founded development plan” has been drawn up. This includes the construction of the largest leisure, shopping and office complex in the Baltic States, he says.
The Bondariks family acquired their shares in 2008 from entrepreneur Igors Ivanovs, who has since been convicted of several crimes. Two years earlier Ivanovs had bought the arena from the company Merks for 17.6 million euros.
The turnover of Arena Riga in 2008 was 2.6 million lats (3.7 million euros), with a profit of 447,000 lats. Ar Entertainment Limited is registered in Cyprus.