Foreigners eyeing Preatoni Pank

  • 2003-04-24

A group of Norwegian investors are seeking to buy the shares in Preatoni Pank in Estonia, owned by Italian businessman Ernesto Preatoni, the daily Eesti Paevaleht reported on April 22.

The plan is to conduct the deal via the OU Hansahouse company represented by Paal Aschjem, who in turn is linked to Linstow's Ulemiste shopping center project in Tallinn, the report said.

Estonian businessmen are also being offered to acquire shares in the bank.

"The deal hasn't been concluded yet, but it's about to be concluded," Aschjem told the newspaper.

"The probability that this deal won't take place is very small, because it's been prepared for about a year now. But I wouldn't go into details at this point," he said.

The chief of the Estonian financial supervisory authority, Andres Trink, said no one had asked his department for permission to acquire a stake of more than 10 percent in any financial institution.

Chairman of the Board of Preatoni Pank Ott Karolin was skeptical about the outlook of a Norwegian acquisition.

Karolin said he had indeed seen the relevant papers, but nothing was taking place in his opinion.

Ernesto Preatoni could not be reached for comment.

Hansahouse estimates the market value of the shares in Estonia's smallest bank at 15.6 million euros (244.1 million kroons).

At the end of March, Preatoni Pank's total assets stood at 170.3 million kroons, with own equity at 101.9 million kroons and profit forthe current financial year at 71,000 kroons.

Loans issued by the bank totaled 74.5 million kroons.