Saku Suurhall Issues New Shares, Officials Remain Doubtful ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Shareholders of the Rocca al Mare Arena, also known as Saku Suurhall, decided Wednesday to issue new shares to save the arena from financial failure, while state and city officials, who are minority shareholders, remained skeptical.

The state and the city, which hold 15.5 and 15.8 percent of stock, said they will not participate unless OÜ Pivotal, which owns the rest of shares, unveils a new business plan for the arena, ETV reported.

The company which owns and manages the arena has debt and interest obligations amounting to over 9 million euros. The creditors are Pivotal and two other companies run by the same person, Marcel Vichmann.

CEO Tarmo Hõbe said that banks are not willing to lend to them, and they have been forced to pay a high annual interest of 15 percent to Pivotal and the other two companies.

He said that the arena is meeting day-to-day running costs, but loan repayments are dragging the company under, adding that plan B is now a new issuance, worth 10 million euros and running until December 15.

Built just in time for Eurovision

The 10,000-capacity arena opened at the end of 2001, half a year after Estonia won the Eurovision song contest, thus becoming host of the 2002 event. Although the idea and planning was conceived well before the winner was announced in 2001, the arena was conveniently finished in time to hold Eurovision 2002.

The nation's biggest indoor arena has held concerts by artists such as the Backstreet Boys, Bob Dylan, Metallica, Rihanna and Sting.

Besides performances, the hall hosts basketball team Kalev/Cramo's more important games.

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