bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 25.11.2017 | Name days: Kadrija, Kate, Katrīna, Trīne

Meroni: Ventspils transaction with Schlaff is in early stage

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+4 rating, 4 votes)

The discussions about transaction of Ventspils transitbusiness assets with the Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff are ongoing, but are in an early stage and nothing is decided.

This is reporting Dr. Rudolf Meroni, the Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of AS Ventbunkers, AS Latvijas Naftas Tranzits (LNT) and AS Ventspils Commercial Port in interview to BNN. He belives, that should it come to a transaction, Martin Schlaff will own the business for some years and improve its performance.

You have confirmed in TV that Ventspils Nafta (VN) and Latvijas kuģniecība (LK) will be sold to the Austrian Businessman Martin Schlaff. How soon will this transaction happen?

No this is not what I have said. TV3 published one sentence out of a much longer interview they had requested. TV3 took one sentence out of the context, which as such is distorting. My message was that some negotiations are taking place. But nothing is decided yet. I have confirmed what was reported already in various newspapers over several weeks.

So who are the prospective buyers?

The prospective buyers are from Austria. It is an investment fund close to the Austrian businessman Mr. Martin Schlaff.

When could this deal take place? There where reports that this deal could be completed in a few weeks…

No, this is not possible. A transaction could happen, after an agreement has been reached between Buyer and Sellers. It will take at least some more months. For the moment, there is no agreement.

There are rumors that Grigory Loutshansky is involved in this deal? If yes, what is his role in the deal?

I am not aware of that. I have no knowledge of Mr. Loutshansky’s participation.

What could be the value of this deal?

I cannot comment on that. VN and LK are companies listed on the stock exchange. I cannot speculate about the price, which is not yet agreed. At this time, the investor carries out a due diligence check of the companies. Much will depend from this due diligence.*

Can you explain, how it was possible for all the parties to come together and agree on this deal with all the conflicts going on?

Nobody came together. The conflict between the Ultimate Beneficial Owners of Ventbunkers is unchanged. The conflict even has got worse over the last few weeks. But Mr. Martin Schlaff can speak with all the parties. He is a very skillful negotiator and very experienced in such kind of difficult transactions.

Can you confirm the stories TV3 reported, such as that MS was related to the German Stasi or the Israeli Mossaad and involved in corruption?

No that is nonsense what they have reported. I did not say it. Mr. Schlaff is an honorable businessman, but unfortunately he is quite rich.

How is that a problem?

Well he is a wealthy person and the newspapers are reporting all kinds of nonsense about him. In the last few weeks he was quite often in the newspapers. It was reported that there was an investigation in Israel trying to link him to some payments to politicians. I have read some of these articles and there only the same old stories which pop up from time to time. Mr. Schlaff has never ever been found guilty of anything like that and even the investigations seem not to have found any proof of any wrongdoing.

So I think it is a defamation to report some unfounded allegations, which have no basis. One thing is true: Mr. Schlaff has very good contacts with many important people in the world including politicians.

What percentage of VN and LK shares would be sold? Will the entire companies be sold or only a part?

My understanding is that VNA, LK and VBU with their subsidiaries would be sold, if such a transaction ever happens. Once more, there are only negotiations with the different parties. Nothing is decided.

The media reports say that Martin Schlaff has excellent relations with Gazprom. Does he just want to buy and resell the Ventspils Oil Transit companies?

Mr. Schlaff is a very sophisticated investor. He buys companies, improves their performance and possibly will resell them when the time is right. That is a good business. I cannot blame him. I don’t think he is acting as an itermediary for some Russian company.

The worst problem is that until today the Ultimate Beneficial Owners / Shareholders steal in different configurations from the companies. In Ventbunkers I am trying to fight against this stealing as much as I can. I cannot say that I am fully successful yet. This is the worst problem for the Ventspils companies. This reduces the performance of the companies and reduces their value.

Mr. Schlaff will be able to stop this stealing and the companies will show a completely different performance. This will also be very good for the Latvian State, as the companies generate more business, employ more people and will pay more taxes. But most importantly to the buyer, the value of the companies will increase.

But again, there are rumors saying that the end buyers will be Gazprom and / or Rusneft. What would this mean to Latvian business. Could it mean crude oil will again flow through the LatRosTrans pipe line.

I understand there is nothing decided and not even envisaged. And even the sale to Mr. Schlaff is not yet sure. You are speculating about something ten steps away. Any Russian oil producer – or from whatever former Soviet Republic – will be interested in this asset, once there is peace in the Ventspils oil transit companies. The ongoing big fight is a great handicap for the Ventspils companies. It is ruining the business for everyone, as well as tarnishing the reputaion of Ventspils and Latvia.

The Latvian state is still a small shareholder in LK. Could these shares also be sold? Has this been discussed with government officials?

Should the Austrian investment fund buy the majority of VNA and/or LK, it is mandatory to extend an offer to all the remaining minority shareholders private or public to buy them out. We will see whether the negotiations will be successful. The next few weeks will show it.

* Due diligence is a term used for a number of concepts involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care. It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for acquisition. Source: Wikipedia


Leave a reply

  1. Kostas Liapis says:

    I hope you will finalize the deal verry soon.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Etty says:

    One or two to rmeebmer, that is.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Saeima member proposes finally arresting Aivars Lembergs

During debates regarding proposals for the next year’s budget, Saeima member Artuss Kaimiņš from KPV LV political party suggested finally putting Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes and is currently suspended from his many posts.

Svarenieks: there could be a deficit of certain vegetables in spring

Cold and damp weather that has negatively affected the vegetable harvest in Latvia, will also affect the vegetable processing sector in spring because of a deficit of certain vegetables, says vegetable and fruit processing company Kronis board member Aivars Svarenieks.

Social protection expenditure in Latvia up 4.2%

In 2016, social protection expenditure in Latvia accounted for EUR 3.7 million and, compared to 2015, it has grown by EUR 151 million or 4.2 %.

Latvian parties took part in sports games organized by scandalous Russian politician

On Lāčplēsis Day, 11 November, certain members of the Saeima from Harmony party and Union of Greens and Farmers participated in sports games organized by Jaunā līga association supported by the Russian parliament. The initiator of those games is Dmitry Svistsev, a member of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party led by scandalous Russian State Duma politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Latvijas Avīze writes.

Famous Lithuanian film director suffers backlash amid sexual misconduct accusations

Although the list of powerful Lithuanian men accused of sexual misconduct is nowhere to match the similar compilation in the United States, where many women have busted an army of entertainment industry big-names, politicians and other public life celebs, however, the wave of woman revelations of men’s unwanted sexual advancement has reached Lithuania, too.

LEC: it is important to ensure efficient investing of state budget finances

It is important that the state budget for 2018 helps reach goals detailed in the National Development Plan, not look for excuses why something was not achieved, says Latvian Employers’ Confederation.

Latvian barometer: Zemgale’s residents are the proudest of living in Latvia

With Latvia’s centenary coming up, Baltic International Bank organized Latvian barometer to determine Latvian residents’ opinions on festivities associated with this event, as well as Latvia’s accomplishments and factors the country should improve.

Ašeradens: the state budget should contribute to changes in national economy

The state budget should contribute to changes in Latvia’s national economy. This is why it is necessary to ensure that Economy Ministry recognizes efforts to increase productivity of the national economy, export growth, attraction of investments, innovations and business environment development as priorities in the process for the formation of the next three-year state budget, says Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Belgian waffle factory fire closes schools in Brussels

A large fire has destroyed a waffle factory in Brussels, making a cloud of black smoke over a part of the European Union's unofficial capital.

Facebook to inform users, who liked secretly Russian-made political pages

The popular social network has undertaken in the U.S. to notify its users if they have given a thumb-up to Facebook pages, which around the time of the last U.S. presidential election have been set up by foreign actors with the aim of spreading propaganda.

Officials: a safe Europe is important for Latvia

Latvia is interested in a safe and strong Europe. Security is one of the most important priorities. Looking at modern-day challenges and technological development, cyber-security’s role only keeps increasing, said chairperson of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee Lolita Čigāne after a meeting.

Weather to remain volatile in Latvia; air temperature to drop again next week

No major changes are expected for weather in Latvia in the coming days. Friday, 24 November, will be cloudy and rainy. Air temperature will range within +2° C… +7° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Pūce: RS is fortunate that «good uncle» Ušakovs gives as much money as needed

«Rīgas satiksme is a jar with an empty bottom in which Riga’s taxpayer money is put in from one end and the money put in it falls out of the other end and is used in different fraud schemes like nano-water, and the useless hydrogen-powered transport project – enormous and financially unreasonable projects....

Saeima approves next year’s budget; more funding for health and defence

On Thursday, 23 November, the Saeima approved Latvia’s budget for 2018. Next year’s budget revenue is planned at EUR 8.75 billion, whereas expenditures are planned at EUR 8.95 billion. The largest increase of funding is planned for healthcare. Latvia’s defence budget is set to reach 2% of GDP

Ķuzis: 94% of sex crimes against children are committed by people they know

Approximately half of sex crimes committed against minors take place on the internet, said Chief of State Police Ints Ķuzis at a press-conference on protection of children against sexual violence.

European Parliament approves use of EU Solidarity Fund’s advance payments

European Parliament’s Budget Committee has approved MEP Inese Vaidere’s submitted report on the use of advance payments from the EU Solidarity Fund in 2018, as reported by European People’s Party group Latvian press and communication advisor Ģirts Salmgriezis.

Authorities unmask illegal trade of products made from protected animals

Nature Protection Office and State Police have stepped up their efforts to increase control over trade of products made from endangered and protected species in the past month. Authorities have already confiscated different goods made from animals protected in Latvia and the world.

Swedbank survey: youngsters want stability; belief in Latvian labour market grows

Stability and income predictability are two of the most important values for Latvian youngsters when planning their future jobs. According to a survey performed by Swedbank, 53% of youngsters would gladly start working in an existing company.

Myanmar and Bangladesh to sigh refugee return agreement

In South-Eastern Asia, Myanmar plans to sign an agreement with neighbouring Bangladesh on the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who have fled to the latter, while rights organisations point to atrocities committed by Myanmar's military.

Polish shipbuilder accused of bribing Port of Tallinn management

A senior executive of Remontowa Shipbuilding, a Polish shipbuilding company, is facing accusations of handing large bribes to former senior figures Port of Tallinn, the Estonian state-owned port operator.

Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed head of Saeima’s National Security Committee

Unity member Inese Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed as the new head of Saeima’s National Security Committee, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Expert: real estate transaction volume this year may reach 100 million euros

The volume of commercial real estate transactions in Baltic States may exceed EUR 1 billion. Latvia, meanwhile, remains behind its neighbouring countries because the volume of transactions in the country may reach EUR 100 million, says CEO of Colliers International Deniss Kairāns.

Finnish medication prescriptions to be valid in Estonia

In Estonia, Finland's digital prescriptions of medications will be valid from summer 2018 and vice versa – from around mid-2019.

Talks commence on restoring ferry traffic between Ventspils and Saaremaa

On Wednesday, 22 November, a delegation from Saaremaa municipality arrived at Vetnspils Freeport to discuss with representatives of Ventspils municipality and freeport the proposal to restore ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Ventspils.

Family of killed Maltese journalist take police to court

The family of the killed Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has sued police believing that it does not perform an impartial investigation.

Most read

Most commented

Newest comments