Investment banker: Tallink announcement most likely about controlling stake ({{commentsTotal}})

Tallink ferries.
Tallink ferries. Source: (Tallink/Andres Raudjalg)

Investment banker Henrik Igasta speculates that Tallink’s announcement on Wednesday about possibly taking on new core investors either means that a majority stake in the shipper is on offer, or then a minority stake that could create one.

Estonia’s largest listed company, shipper Tallink, announced to the Tallinn stock market on Wednesday that they had started an exploratory process that would consider options to open the company up to new core investors.

At the same time, the process also involves existing owners’ potential divesting of their stake in the group.

Investment banker Henrik Igasta told ERR on Thursday that such an announcement was typical for the beginning of some kind of selling process, although that didn’t necessarily mean stakes in the company would eventually be sold.

Three companies, Citigroup Venture Capital International Growth Partnership (Employee) II L.P., Baltic Cruises Holding L.P., and Baltic Cruises Investment L.P., have agreed to only divest their stakes in Tallink Grupp in the same transaction, at the same time, and on the same economic terms, including the share price.

“It can be assumed that shareholder Baltic Cruises is trying to get out, though I don’t know what agreements there are with other large shareholders, most of all with Infortar. But the impression remains that there likely is a large or also a majority stake is on offer,” Igasta said.

Infortar holds just over 38 percent of Tallink Group's stock, which makes the company the largest single shareholder.

“Whether or not it’s Infortar that’s selling I don’t know and can’t speculate, but I’d assume that a majority stake is offered through this kind of process, or the opportunity to get to a majority stake within some period of time,” he added.

The aim of the whole procedure could be for Baltic Cruisers to sell at a better price than they would get at the stock market, Igasta said, adding though that in some cases this kind of announcement could also mean that the company is looking for additional capital.

Though he considers the latter scenario unlikely: “In Tallink’s case I don’t think this is an issue,” Igasta said.

At the end of the road, this would most likely be about the controlling stake in the company. “This is speculation, of course, but my assumption is that they’re selling control [of the company]. If this transaction happens, there will be a buy-out offer for small shareholders as well,” he added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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