Shiver me timber

  • 2010-10-27
  • Wire reports

RIGA - The joint-stock wood processing company Latvijas Finieris, is applying pressure on the company’s shareholders who want to sell their shares to rival and Russia’s largest wood processing company, Sveza. Hints are being dropped that shareholders within the company will lose their jobs if they sell to Sveza, as the Russian company’s representative Ieva Kukule told the business portal

Such threats are being made against those shareholders who work at Latvijas Finieris, or have relatives working for the company. Kukule confirmed that this concerned minority shareholders, who had disclosed the threats during a meeting with Sveza representatives, which was held to discuss share sale conditions.
“This is a totally unacceptable practice in a European Union country governed by the principles of the European Human Rights Convention, which says that people are free to do what they want with their property, and have the right to freedom of speech. However, executives at Latvijas Finieris are applying psychological pressure on them, directly limiting shareholders’ rights to use their own discretion to decide what they want to do with their shares, which is a serious infringement on their human rights,” stressed Kukule.

Sveza does not plan to eliminate any jobs at Latvijas Finieris after buying the company’s shares, nor does it plan to halt the company’s business. Furthermore, minority shareholders will be able to exercise their rights provided within the law and in the company’s charter.
“This is utter nonsense and lies. We simply have no other comment,” said Latvijas Finieris representative, Jolanta Medne.

Saeima’s National Security Committee on Wednesday urged the authorities to pay attention to deals with Latvijas Finieris shares. Commission chairman Dzintars Jaundzeikars (For A Good Latvia) said that Latvijas Finieris was a highly important company for the state, therefore authorities should find out everything about the takeover bid for the company.
As reported, Sveza is ready to pay 10,000 lats (14,200 euros) for each Latvijas Finieris common share with voting rights, and 1,000 lats  per each share with restricted voting rights. The offer is valid until November 5.
This means that Sveza is actually offering to buy Latvijas Finieris shares for their nominal value. Latvijas Finieris annual report said that the company’s share capital is 40.45 million lats, made up of 7,242 shares held by 434 individuals and one legal entity.

Latvijas Finieris management previously said in a statement that it was shocked at Sveza’s aggressive offer. Latvijas Finieris management hope that the company’s shareholders, knowing the company’s successful development and stable operations, would be able to properly evaluate their shares and their long-term potential, and not sell their shares to a company that has made such an improper and questionable offer.

In a 2009 list of Latvia’s 101 most valuable companies compiled by the business magazine Kapitals, IBS Prudentia and NASDAQ OMX Riga, Latvijas Finieris was ranked 27th with a value of 73.86 million lats.