Finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) says the state may purchase a €150-million stake in Estonian shipping line Tallink, following the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The company's CEO, Paavo Nõgene, said that this was perfectly conceivable.
The stake purchase would be temporary, Helme said.
"When, in difficult times, different countries invest in their more significant companies, leaving open the opportunity to withdraw again after time, then these are definitely positive opportunities," Nõgene told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Wednesday night.
"There are a many such options. I know that the Estonian state has also had plenty of different ideas on how to act in such situations. As I said, since I don't know exactly what the draft supplementary budget has agreed on at the moment, I can't say which version of the country 's vision could be discussed further," he added.
Tallink is continuing to operate vessels between Estonia and Finland, principally for cargo, including its Megastar shuttle. Passenger traffic can now only be one-way, from Finland to Estonia, since the Finnish government has imposed restrictions on any ferry passengers arriving there.
Parent company Tallink Group has also announced it will be making layoffs in its hotels sector, with only one of the hotels it runs, the Tallink Express in Tallinn's harbor area, partly still operating.
It is also cutting staff salaries by 30 percent, and will be able to take advantage of a government initiative, via the Unemployment Insurance Fund (Töötukassa) to have 70 percent of incomes paid for by the state, up to a maximum of €1,000 and over a two-month time-frame.
Editor: Andrew Whyte