DFDS Tor Line to decide on LISCO buyout by mid-June

  • 2001-05-10
  • BNS
VILNIUS - The Danish shipping company DFDS Tor Line plans to announce by mid-June whether or not it buys out minority shareholders in the Lithuanian Shipping Company, according to a company official.

Peder Gellert Pedersen, regional manager of DFDS Tor Line, said the Danish company has not yet decided its position on minority shares.

DFDS Tor Line signed an agreement April 23 to purchase 76.36 percent of shares in LISCO from the state for a reported $47.6 million. Under the deal, the Danish company must invest another $60 million in the shipping company within three years.

"DFDS Tor Line has not yet assumed a position on (minority shareholders)," Pedersen said. "We now have to deal with the restructuring of the company. Besides, the privatization agreement contains our commitment to continue a constructive dialogue with minority shareholders, which is what we are doing."

Arunas Pemkus from the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, which represents DFDS Tor Line, told BNS that Pedersen discussed issues related to the restructuring of the fleet and buying of the shares with the minority shareholders on May 3.

Pemkus said the shareholders continue to demand that shares be bought from them at a price not lower than 4.75 litas ($1.20) each – the price the Danish company paid for the state-owned shares.

Pemkus said DFDS Tor Line might start buying shares in LISCO through the stock exchange.

"Why shouldn't DFDS Tor Line buy the shares on the stock exchange when the price of LISCO is low? It's not doing that at the moment, but it might do so in the future," Pemkus added.

DFDS Tor Line officials said payment for LISCO would reach Lithuania as soon as certain commitments related to preparation of LISCO's restructuring are fulfilled, as provided for in the privatization agreement.

LISCO's restructuring plan and bylaws of two new companies are expected to be approved during the Lithuanian company's shareholder meeting scheduled for May 26.

The restructuring plan calls for forming separate companies out of LISCO's ferry line and dry cargo services. Under the plan, DFDS Tor Line would own six LISCO ferries and six tramp vessels, while the Lithuanian state would retain control of 19 ships.