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HomeInterviewsEastern business sale price 'doesn’t make us happy' – Viciunai Group executive

Eastern business sale price ‘doesn’t make us happy’ – Viciunai Group executive

As Viciunai Group, a Lithuanian fish and other food production and sale group partly owned by Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis, has recently sold its business in Russia, Belarus and other CIS countries after a process that’s taken almost two years, Dainius Matijosaitis, a board member at the group, says he does not know who is behind the buyer – Russian management company Gruppa Okean.

He told in an interview with BNS this week, however, that it is a bank-vetted, financially capable entity owned by two natural persons and having no ties with sanctioned Russian persons.

Matijosaitis says one should not believe Russian media reports saying that Gruppa Okean is linked to Unifrost, a large Russian importer of fish products.

“I know nothing about what you are saying (about links to Unifrost – BNS). We have a somewhat strange practice that when the Russian media writes something that is inconvenient, we say “yuck, yuck, yuck, you don’t have to believe the Russian media”, but somehow when they write some nonsense about Viciunai, you definitely have to believe and check it. We don’t know of any links. They are two natural persons, and we have named one of them, the manager and shareholder, (Maria Bukharova – BNS) the other one is a natural person, a man,” Martijosaitis told BNS.

“I personally have neither seen, nor spoken to any of them. It may seem complicated that you don’t know who you are selling to, but what we can say is that this is the fourth such buyer that we have finally managed to close the deal with,” he added.

In his words, it was important for Viciunai Group to make sure the buyer was financially capable, which was verified by the investment partners through their vindication services, and also by the Russian banks that financed the transaction.

“It was important for us to make sure that the individuals were not either sanctioned themselves or related to sanctioned individuals,” Matijosaitis said.

The Kaunas mayor’s son refrained to disclose the value of the deal or the bank through which it was settled, but said that “doesn’t make us happy” as it’s worse than the pessimistic forecasts made by Matijosaitis himself two years ago.

He refrained to confirm that the transaction value could be in the region of 70-80 million euros: “I won’t confirm any figures and I won’t talk about amounts. I can only say that the deal does not make us happy”.

Matijosaitis also admits that the company’s reputation in Lithuania has been “dented” over the past two years, adding, however, that it has had only a minor impact on the group’s sales.

In his words, the Russian and other eastern businesses accounted for about 35 percent of the group’s sales: “This is a fairly significant part of our group, and we have seen a significant drop in turnover after this deal.”

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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