TALLINN – Estonia's Spar store chain might soon change its name, as its major owner Estiko sold its 51 percent stake to Sweden's Dagab June 7. The price of the deal will be made public on June 18.
The Swedes intend to purchase the remaining shares from Rotagrupp. Dagab also owns the Finnish Spar and another Estonian chain store, REMA 1000.
"Spar shops will continue working as retail stores," said Kuido Parnits, board chairman of Rema 1000.
He said five shops in Tartu will start operating under Rema 1000 and the future of the other six shops, which worked under the Spar trademark with a franchise contract, is still not clear.
Parnits said that his company's objective is to conquer a 15 percent market share in Estonia. Rema 1000 had 18 stores before the acquisition of the Spar chain and a market share of 8 percent.
There are presently 11 stores operating under the Spar trademark in Tallinn and in Tartu. Spar has a market share of 5 percent in Estonia.
"Several companies were interested in Spar, but Rema 1000 offered the best conditions," said Mart Raik, Estiko's board chairman.
Lithuania's Vilniaus Prekyba, which was short listed in the last round of picking a buyer for Spar, was interested in the real estate rather than trade. "Rema 1000 had a more concrete offer," Raik said.
Neinar Seli, a council member and major shareholder in Estiko, said the market value of the Spar chain in Estonia was estimated at about 50 million kroons ($ 3.29 million). The stock capital of Spar Estonia stands at over 10.82 million kroons.
Estiko posted a net profit of 6.79 million kroons on sales of 485 million kroons for 1998. Raik said that although Spar gave almost one-third of the sales of Estiko group, it also cost the company a 3.5 million kroon loss, half of the total of 7 million kroon loss.