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Saturday 25.03.2017 | Name days: Māra, Marita, Mārīte

Kirkups: the source of Ventspils Nafta information leak is obvious

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe acquisition of the controlling package of stocks in Ventspils nafta marks the beginning of a new era for Vitol – control over companies, peaceful resolution and ending mutual conflict among stockholders will finally let the company to focus on improving results and selling real estate properties, including the legendary Preses nams, said head of Vitol in Baltics Robert Kirkup in his interview to Delfi.

«When Vitol acquired VN stocks, we had actual concerns about paying too much for them. It was different from was the press have been reporting up until now. In reality, the price of [Ventspils nafta] stocks has been fluctuating around an average of EUR 1 over the past twelve months. It has been very small in the past three years,» – said Kirkup.

He admits there was a risk of overpaying for acquired assets. «We had acquired another 43.25% of stocks in the time when there are concerns about reduced oil flow from Russia, which has recently announced its intentions to leave Baltic ports.»

«The oil pipeline needs 4.2 million tons in order to function in zeroes. There is also the risk of impacting the environment and not receiving certain permits,» – said Kirkup.

He notes that Vitol’s management had a feeling their investments in Latvia had been frozen. «Because of infighting among stockholders and other involved parties, we didn’t want to invest any additional amounts. Now we will be able to reconsider investment options,» – he continued.

When asked if he thinks the rapid growth of [Ventspils nafta] stock prices was caused by rumours or artificially by someone else, Kirkup said the Finance Capital and Market Commission currently investigates just that.

«I have no information as to what exactly they are investigating. We were very worried when we saw how the price of stocks started climbing on 10 September in spite of the small trade volume. I would call that illogical trading. It seemed very artificial to me. Prices continued growing on Friday as well. It was certainly an impulse for others to understand what was happening, so that they would start trading. The initial step for all this consisted of transactions carried out using internally-available information. I am certain that FCMC will investigate that and publish its conclusion after some time. They and NASDAQ have the necessary tools to do that.»

Kirkups adds that the source of the leak is obvious. He added that it would be incorrect of him to comment that.

«I believe it was an intentional attempt. It is proven by the [stock price change] graph. Stocks previously traded for EUR 1 – EUR 1.15 suddenly experience a rise to EUR 1.77. You don’t need a lot of know-how to figure out someone would benefit from that,» – said Kirkup.

At the same time, Kirkup believes it will be possible to make business management more effective in the future.

«The terminal and oil pipeline [LatRosTrans] are related to one another and they should be managed together. We want to work and find a way to make that possible. It was not possible until now because one of the stockholders of the pipeline company is Russian Transneft. It will be a challenge for the near future,» – said Kirkup.


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