Shareholder-shuffling at Rokiskio dairy

  • 2004-01-15
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - A group of investors led by Rokiskio Suris CEO Antanas Trumpa has been given the green light from competition authorities to consolidate their holdings in the dairy group by buying up stakes owned by several large and small shareholders, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. However, a report in the local media claimed that foreign investors were also attempting to acquire the bank's stake, setting the stage for a potential battle in one of Lithuania's premier companies.

The group includes Snavesta, the investment arm of assets manager Hermis Fondu Valdymas, the firm Pieno Pramones Investiciju Valdymas, which was established by Trumpa, eight executive managers of the dairy and the little-known investment company Survesta.
The EBRD recently said it would divest a 27.15 percent stake in Rokiskio Suris, which it has owned for four years, while the Bank of Bermuda has also put up its 16.24 percent holding on sale.
Together the two stakes are expected to fetch 88 million litas (25.5 million euros).
The daily Verslo Zinios reported on Jan. 9 that Amber Trust, a 50 million euro foreign investment fund established by Firebird and Danske Capital Finland, both of which already own stakes in Rokiskio Suris, bid 50 litas per share for the EBRD stake.
At that price the combined 41.1 percent holding up for sale would garner as much as 97.5 million litas.
According to the paper, Amber Trust made its bid through Lithuanian asset manager Hermis Fondu Valdymas. But unofficial sources reported that the EBRD obtained a report stating that some 20,000 of Rokiskio milk suppliers mistrust HFV and pledged to stage a picket near the representative office of the development bank.
Furthermore, the European bank received a letter signed by high-ranking Lithuanian officials asking them to refrain from divestment of stake in the dairy until the country accedes to the EU.
In December Trumpa, Pieno Pramones Investiciju Valdymas, the company of Rokiskio Suris managers in control of 28 percent of the dairy, and Survesta signed a shareholders' contract in which they agreed to accumulate a majority holding in the dairy.
Nerijus Dagilis, CEO of HFV, said in December that the list of key shareowners of Rokiskio Suris might undergo significant changes in the near future.
Analysts predict that persons associated with HFV would later take over control over Survesta.
As of late September 2003, Trumpa held a 22.92 percent of voting shares in the cheese producer, though together with his wife he directly controls 25.28 percent.
HFV and Snavesta, which are controlled by individuals associated with the asset manager, hold around 38 percent of shares in the refrigerator producer Snaige, while Vinvesta, another subsidiary of Hermis Fondu Valdymas, controls some 37 percent in the electronics company Vilniaus Vingis. (BNS)