Ekspress Grupp Õhtuleht stake may be up for sale ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian issues of Õhtuleht for delivery.
Estonian issues of Õhtuleht for delivery. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Ekspress Grupp, one of the two major private media groups in Estonia, is weighing up selling its stake in AS Õhtuleht Kirjastus, which publishes the daily newspaper of the same name.

AS Õhtuleht Kirjastus made a loss in 2018, of close to €180,000; it's figures for 2019 have yet to be released. The group had previously turned a profit – of half a million euros – in 2016 and 2017.

Õhtuleht newspaper itself did buck a trend for falling print circulations among major dailies in December 2019, running off 44,800 copies, compared with 42,600 the previous month, and 600 up on year. The company also said its digital subscriptions had grown 3 percent on year. Figures for both can be affected by factors including direct sales drives, however.

AS Õhtuleht Kirjastus' flagship product is the newspaper, but other products in its portfolio include magazines and portals, according to BNS. Õhtuleht is generally classed as a "yellow" (i.e. tabloid) newspaper though many Estonian media observers have noticed a convergence between it and, for example Postimees, the largest Estonian daily newspaper, in terms of its journalism.

However, Ekspress Grupp could not confirm or deny any imminent sale, on Friday. The group owns a 50 percent stake in AS Õhtuleht Kirjastus.

"The thing with entrepreneurship is, after all, that proposals are made for the purchase of companies, Ekspress Grupp board chair Mari-Liis Ruutsalu told BNS Friday.

"Let's say that we are always open to these types of options, but at the moment there has been no decision that we would like to give up this holding," she added.

Ekspress Grupp also told the Tallinn Stock Exchange that it was analyzing various options regarding it stake in Õhtuleht Kirjastus.

"Information about any further steps will be announced in accordance with the requirements of the stock exchange regulations," the Ekspress Grupp told the exchange, according to BNS.

Another company which has an Õhtuleht stake – 50 percent, which it purchased last year – is fuel company Alexela Grupp.

Alexala Grupp said Friday it was happy with the holding, though could not comment on any sale rumours.

What I can and want to say, however, is that Alexela Grupp is very satisfied with its investment when it comes to Ohtuleht," said Andreas Lääne, Alexela Grupp chair.

What I can and want to say, however, is that Alexela Grupp is very satisfied with its investment when it comes to Ohtuleht," said Andreas Lääne, Alexela Grupp chair.

Eesti Meedia, now known as Postimees Grupp, formerly owned a stake in AS Õhtuleht Kirjastus.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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