Vitol may sell Latvian Shipping Company shares if a buyer appears
«Vitol [which indirectly owns shares in Latvian Shipping Company through Euromin and Ventspils nafta] has always been clear that standard shipping is not one of the group’s main strategic directions. This means – if there is a buyer, a decision to sell Latvian Shipping Company may be made,» Kirkup said.
According to him, this means Latvian Shipping Company will continue work on closing different additional businesses to create a clean shipping company. «As you are aware, we are currently working on selling our real estate properties portfolio. We also own Latmar, which is responsible for managing older ships. We want to close these businesses so that potential investors are able to assess a shipping company with a simple structure without asking questions about other subsidiaries,» explains the company’s chairman.
When asked if shares of Latvian Shipping Company should remain quoted at Riga Exchange, Kirkup said the only problem at the moment is their liquidity. «As for shares, the only problem is that they are relatively illiquid. Buyers have to see liquidity if they wish to attract hedge funds. It is a problem that we see at Nasdaq Baltic Exchange. Investors want to see shares they can buy and sell, not buy and hold for 20 years,» Kirkup comments.
According to the latest data from Latvian Shipping Company, Ventspils Nafta owns 49.94% of company shares, Estonian Fondo H owns 19.62% and the Latvian state owns 10%. 20.44% of company shares are owned by private shareholders.