Consortium moves in on stevedoring company

  • 1998-11-05
  • Paul Beckman
VILNIUS - After two meaty consortiums went head to head in a privatization tender for a 90 percent stake in Lithuania's stevedoring company KLASCO, the Viachema group has emerged in the top position. Lithuania's State Assets Fund announced Oct. 30, that the Viachema consortium has been invited to participate in direct negotiations.

With five competitors originally wrangling for the prize, some merged to increase their chances of victory. The consortium which won through to the negotiation round consists of Viachema, the Dutch Rotterdam port company Europe Combined Terminal BV and the Estonian shipping company Transiidikeskuse. Bronislovas Lubys, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists and widely regarded as the most influential businessman in the country, heads the group.

"Viachema was not declared the winner but has been selected to discuss technical and financial conditions," said Rimantas Butkus, senior specialist of the State Assets Fund. "They simply offered better technical and financial conditions. Their financial plans were better."

According to Butkus, Lithuanian law officially allows up to 90 days of negotiations to secure the deal although he is hopeful an agreement will pan out by the next cabinet meeting. Should the negotiations between the government and Viachema fail to produce an acceptable outcome, the second place consortium then gets a chance to sit at the bargaining table. The second-ranked consortium consists of Stanton Capital Corporation of the United States, Hamburger Hafen und Lagerhaus and Lithuanian-Russian metal export firm Eksimeta.

Henrikas Karpavicius, general director of Eksimeta, stated that he was disappointed with the results. While neither competitor is currently able to reveal details of their financial proposals, Karpavicius was able to shed some light onto a couple of technical offers. The second place consortium proposed to a make a series of investments in KLASCO over a five year period. They were also planning on allowing the workers currently employed there to maintain their jobs.

"We can only assume the other consortium offered a larger price because, as far as we know, the technical offers made by both consortia were more or less the same," Karpavicius told TBT.

According to figures from BNS, KLASCO's share capital amounts to 128.9 million litas ($32.2 million) with the face value of the stake to be sold at 116 million litas. The news agency stated that the state hopes to receive anywhere from 280 to 500 litas for the company.