State water company attracts investors

  • 1998-10-01
  • Urmas Maranik
TALLINN - The Tallinn water utility Tallinna Vesi, which is owned by the city, has recently become an attraction for various foreign investors looking for a stake in the company. The latest proposal came in mid-September from American investment company Atlantis Fund, which is interested in investing between $15 and $25 million in the form of convertible bonds.

"At a meeting with the authorities of Tallinn, [Atlantis Fund Director] Philip Dyk offered a deal in which the investor would recover the investment in two or three years," said Kaarel-Mati Halla, economic advisor to the city government.

The investment fund has assets worth $250 million, and its principal aim is investing in infrastructures, primarily water-related projects, around the globe, according to Halla.

"The city government has proposed to extend the water company's stock capital to 1 billion kroons ($71.4 million) and then sell one-third of the shares to a strategic financial investor," Halla told BNS.

Tallinna Ves, which supplies water for the entire Estonian capital and maintains existing pipelines and cleaning systems, is one of the few remaining state-owned companies. Only 33 percent of the stocks will be sold to private investors since the state says it must keep control of the environmentally crucial infrastructure.

According to Valdur Vaht, public relations manager of Tallinna Vesi, both the Tallinn city government and the water company have received various attractive proposals from different investors in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

"[German water company] Berliner Wasser and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development have made good offers this year," Vaht said.