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Three oligarchs sell half of Latvian transport company to Russian Railways

  • 2015-04-13
  • from TBT staff, RIGA

According to information from the Lursoft database, Russian Railways, through an Amsterdam registered affiliate RZDL Multimodal, has purchased 50% of the shares of logistics company Liepājas Oil Transit (LNT).

The remaining shares of the company, through a number of firms, are owned by former Prime Minister Andris Skeles’ family, former politician Ainārs Šlesers and Ventpils Mayor Aivars Lembergs’ representative, considered to be Ansis Sormulis’ brother, Ivars Sormulis, as well as Russia citizen, Elena Volkova.

RZDL Multimodial's parent company, RZD Logistics, mentioned in a statement that the transaction was carried out in order to expand sales markets and create a single railway organisation to Latvian ports. The Russian news agency Tass cited the company as saying: “The new project RZD Logistics makes it possible to ensure the stability and regularity of the goods shipped in the direction of Europe.”

The Russian Railways related company also indicates, as before, that in order to facilitate their business development in freight transport towards Europe, it formed a joint venture in Latvia, Euro Rail Trans. The company’s board members are Ainārs Šlesers, and Vladimirs Antjufejevs, but the Chairman of the Board is Aleksandrs Berezins.

The owner of RŽD Logistics is the Joint Transport Logistics Company, whereas the largest shareholders are Russian Railways (74%), Kazakhstan Railways (21%) and Belarusian Railway (5%).

According to data from Lursoft, the transaction took place on 25 March this year. SIA Locomotive Traction Operator, the sole owner up till now, and new owner RZDL Multimodial now each hold 50% of the company’s shares. Up to the beginning of this year, LNT belonged to several Rīgas tirdzniecības ostas (Riga Commercial Port) companies.

LNT ownership structure is branched. However, it may be concluded that 10% of shares of Locomotive Traction Operator belong to Ivars Sormulis, and 10% to Elena Volkova. The remaining 80% are controlled by Latvijas transporta grupa, the controlling interest of which is owned by Šķēles and Šlesers’ joint company, SIA Regma 101. Šlesers has previously mentioned in an interview that it is his and Šķēles’ joint venture, although officially the company belongs to the Šlesers and Šķēles families - 60% belongs to the Šlesers family estate's holding company, Regma 100, and 40% belongs to Inpo 21, which is one of the Skeles family’s investment projects, Private Asset Management, which is one of the Šķēles family’s Privāto aktīvu pārvaldes (Private asset management) investment projects.

As reported, another similar transaction took place in March when Šlesers purchased a third of Šķēle-owned AS Liepājas autobusu parks majority shareholder – SIA LAP1R.

Translated from the original report from Delfi by Monika Hanley