Narvesen Baltija will take over the administration of Preses Apvieniba kiosks starting next year.
The two companies will not be merged, Narvesen management announced. "We will operate two different companies," Narvesen Baltija general manager Petter Lundeby said at the BaltTrade 2000 conference in Riga Oct. 20.
He stressed that Preses Apvieniba is selling mainly local press products, while local newspapers represent only 1-2 percent of the turnover of Narvesen stores. "At Narvesen, the core product is foreign magazines, so these are two different markets," Lundeby said.
Preses Apvieniba is the leading kiosk chain in Latvia, with 450 outlets and net sales of 14.7 million lats ($23.71 million). The chain's market share of Latvian newsstand newspapers and magazine sales is around 70 percent.
The new owners plan to develop the Preses Apvieniba chain vigorously over the next two to three years with the target of doubling the annual net sales figure in the next two years. During this period 140 unprofitable outlets will be replaced by 150 new walk-in kiosks and a further 130 units will be modernized in line with present-day requirements.
The Preses Apvieniba kiosk chain will continue to trade under its present name, which is well established and recognized in the Latvian retail market.
Narvesen Baltija is owned by Norwegian company Narvesen (55 percent), Rautakirja (35 percent) and the Norwegian-Latvian company Linstow-Varner (10 percent).
Narvesen Baltija currently operates 24 shops in Latvia with 220 employees. According to Lundeby, the company serves about 15,000 customers per day and its planned turnover for 2000 is 5 million lats.