Plan to Be Submitted to Privatize Estonian Air, Co-owner of Tallink Could Become Majority Shareholder ({{commentsTotal}})

According to the restructuring plan that will be submitted to the European Commission on Friday, Infortar, which is a joint owner of the Estonian shipping company Tallink, is also set to become the majority shareholder of Estonian Air.

If the revised restructuring program gets the Commission's approval, Infortar is expected to invest in the national airline in the spring of 2015.

The changes in ownership also require the approval of the Estonian government.

"Estonia has been looking for opportunities to have a strong private investor among the owners of its national airline for the past three years," said Ahti Kuningas, Chairman of the Supervisory Council. "Today we have an agreement with a partner who has by far the best vision for the future of the Estonian Air and excellent knowledge of the tourism industry."

Infortar's chairman of the management board, Ain Hanschmidt, said that his company wishes to deploy its extensive experience in tourism and service sectors, as well as its financial wherewithal for the benefit of Estonian Air, but this will no doubt be a major challenge.

"We see a few important possibilities for synergy with Tallink that should have an effect on the procurement prices, marketing and the sales network," he said.

Estonian Air is Estonia's national airline based in Tallinn at Lennart Meri International Airport. It own four Embraer 170 and three CRJ900 airplanes and operates flights on 10 regular routes, as well as a number of seasonal and charter flights.

Infortar is an investment company that relies on local capital. It owns 36 percent of Tallink Group and focuses on investments in the tourism, transport and real-estate sectors.

In 2013, Estonian Air suffered a deficit of 8.1 million euros. During the first six months of 2014 the airline had accumulated a 5-million-euro deficit.



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