Security firm expands into public services

  • 2001-03-15
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN - Estonian Security Services, the largest security company in Estonia, will soon be moving into public services, including medical transport operations.

The Tallinn Social and Healthcare Department has arranged a tender to find three more ambulance brigades to compliment the existing Tallinn Ambulance, an enterprise funded by the city. So far Estonian Security Services and Harju Rescue Service are the only bidders, although the deadline for presenting bids is March 16, said Indrek Lindsalu, an Estonian Security Services spokesman.

There are 14 ambulance brigades in Tallinn now. Twelve of them belong to Tallinn Ambulance, and the other two are operated by the Rescue Service. The new operator company would introduce fully equipped ambulance cars and much needed personnel.

According to Ants Leemets, deputy mayor of Tallinn, the budget of the ambulance service in Tallinn increased this year, which is why three more brigades can be hired.

All the ambulance teams will be supervised by one dispatching office.

Bringing private capital into the ambulance service is a part of the Social Ministry's state healthcare development plan. According to the ministry, one of the priorities of healthcare reform is a restructuring of ambulance service in order to reduce state expenses and improve quality.

Peeter Tohver, the president of Estonian Security Services, said the changes in the healthcare law would cause a reshuffling of the market. Tohver admitted that in the next few years this would be slow, but added that it will develop and grow.

"In Denmark, the volume of medical transport is four times bigger than the volume of the ambulance service market," said Tohver.

Urmas Soorumaa, the founder and a member of Estonian Security Services' board, assessed the current situation in the three Baltic security service markets.

"In Latvia and Lithuania we see the same situation as it was in Estonia four and six years ago respectively, and I can predict what will happen in the Latvian and Lithuanian markets with three months accuracy," said Soorumaa.

Estonian Security Services has 22,000 permanent clients and the firm employs 2,900 people. The company belongs to the Denmark-based Group 4 Falck, the world's second largest security and public service company.

The Tallinn City Council hired Estonian Security Services as parking lot operators and also uses the company's guards at pedestrian crossings that don't have traffic lights.

Estonian Security Services estimates that the total volume of the security services market in Estonia is between 900 million kroons ($53.83 million) and 1 billion kroons. The company's net sales were 507 million kroons last year, said Tohver.