Oleg Ossinovski is the richest person in Estonia

The business daily Äripäev has named transport mogul Oleg Ossinovski as the richest person in Estonia, in its annual list of the 500 richest people in Estonia.

Ossinovski, whose son Jevgeni Ossinovski is a Social Democrat MP and who helped finance the 2011 campaign for the seat, saw his fortunes increase by 75 million euros to 297.9 million, Äripäev said today. Skinest Rail, owned by Ossinovski, had a excellent year, sells and repairs train rolling stock in the Baltics, Ukraine and Russia. Ossinovski also owns Spacecom AS, which leases railroad tanker cars.Oleg Ossinovski

Hillar Teder of food retailer O’Key Group, who had claimed the spot in the previous two years, is now second, with the daily lopping 55 million euros off its estimate of his worth to take him to a mere 295 million euros.

The rest of the top 10 were as follows:

3. Priit Piilmann, major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group – 211.2 million euros (132 million in 2012)

4. Armin Karu, major shareholder of Olympic Entertainment Group – 161.5 million euros (112.5 million)
5. Toomas Annus, chairman and major shareholder of Merko real estate developer – 143.1 million euros (133.8 million)
6. Margus Kangro, major shareholder in Viru Keemia Group – 132.1 million euros (104.4 million)
7. Fjodor Berman, owner and head of BLRT Group – 119 million euros (182.2 million)
8. Marcel Vichmann, owner of Edelaraudtee and GoBus – 117.5 million euros (107.1 million)
9. Sonny Aswani, managing director of the Tolaram Group in Estonia – 117.2 million euros (109.9 million)
10. Roman Stroykov, an industrial wholesaler – 115.1 million euros (89.5 million)

Source: ERR News

Estonian businessman buys Finnish textile factories

Swedish-born Estonian businessman Peter Hunt, who owns the Wendre textile company, has branched out to Finland, buying one of the nation’s leading textile manufacturers, Finlayson.

The deal involves factories in Finland and Russia, stores in the Baltics and Russia and the Familon trademark, while the Finlayson shops in Finland will remain in the hands of the previous owner of Finlayson.

Read more from ERR News

Foreign investors interested in former prison

The Patarei sea fortress and prison, which has been mostly abandoned since 2002, when the prison was shut down, has attracted interest from a number of foreign investors.

State Real Estate, which owns the 4-hectare seaside property, said it will wait for the approval of a detailed plan.

The state attempted to sell the property with a initial price of 3 million euros two years ago, but received no bids.

Read more from ERR

Minister seeks to stop sale of Tallinn TV Tower

Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs Urve Palo says that the planned sale of Levira, network services provider and transmitter of TV and radio channels, should be reversed.

Eesti Päevaleht writes that Palo is referring to security considerations and emotional aspects because Levira also owns the Tallinn TV Tower, a symbol of Estonia regaining independence that the Soviet Army attempted to conquer in August 1991 as part of the coup d’etat.

Read more from BBN

 

Biggest private investor pulls out of Estonian share

Stefan Andersson, a Swedish private investor who has been one of the biggest investors in Tallinn Stock Exchange, has sold most of its holdings, writes Äripäev.

Last year, Andersson sold 842,706 euros worth of shares of Merko Ehitus, 235,000 euros worth of Tallinna Vesi, 115,000 euros worth of Tallink and 95,000 euros worth of Järvevana.

In addition, he sold 413,000 euros in Fortum shares and 163,000 euros of UPM shares.

All in all, Andersson sold about 1.9 million euros worth of shares in 2013.

Read more from BBN

Businessman expands his media empire by acquiring BNS

Margus Linnamae who has extensive holdings in the Estonian pharmaceutical business has acquired a 55 percent holding in the news agency Baltic News Service through his company MM Grupp.

Last year, Linnamae acquired Eesti Meedia, publisher of Postimees daily, from Norwegian media group Schibsted.

Read more from BBN

Estonian casino operator increases share in Italian company

The listed Estonian casino operator Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) is increasing its holding in The Box, a company that manages operations in Italy, to 70%.

The Box is, in turn, acquiring a 100 percent holding in Slottery, a company that operates 10 video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming rooms with a total of 254 gaming machines and a total floor area of 2,057 square meters in Milan and its vicinity.

Read more from BBN

10 million „e-Estonians“ by 2025

The Estonian government has approved the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. From the end of 2014, foreigners will be able to receive a secure Estonian e-identity. This creates a unique opportunity to create a new set of remotely usable global services.

The development of the appropriate infrastructure and the range of services require the coordination and stimulation of the public and private sectors. The aim is to make Estonia great: make sure that at least 10 million people around the world choose to associate with Estonia via e-identities.

Estonian citizens are able to perform nearly every public and private sector transaction in digital form, including signing any document. Until now, this ability has not extended to foreigners who are permanent residents of countries other than Estonia. Therefore, on April 24th, 2014, the Government of the Republic decided to approve the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. This forms a basis for the growth of the international competitiveness of the Estonian state in the fields of economy, science, education, healthcare, etc.

For example, the adoption of non-resident ID cards is an additional argument in favor of investing in Estonia. Today, it is difficult for a foreign investor to actively participate in the executive management of a company (that is, to fulfill the tasks of a Member of the Board). The non-resident ID card and digital signature would provide the necessary flexibility.

Here is another example. There are entrepreneurs and investors both within and outside the European Union who are looking for opportunities to create their own company or investment vehicle in the EU. The ability to incorporate and open a bank account (not just in Estonia, but in the EU!) within a single day is only one of the services that Estonia can offer to holders of non-resident ID cards. Not to mention the simple, fully digital tax system, flexibility in attracting highly qualified (digital) labor, etc.

In addition, reinvested profit is tax-free in Estonia, and the highly developed e-banking environment gives you immediate control of your assets from a distance. This means that Estonia has the potential to be attractive to entrepreneurs who need an investment account (vehicle), and this would result in additional customers and capital for Estonian businesses.

E-residence provides a unique opportunity to create a globally innovative suite of public and private services that are usable irrespective of location: convenient incorporation, bank transactions, tax reporting, medical counseling, etc. This can be based on existing Estonian e-services, developing them further and adding new ones.

The state intends to create a fundamental platform for new business opportunities in this area. However, the development of the necessary infrastructure and range of services requires the coordination and joint effort of the public and private sectors. The aim must be ambitious: currently there is 1,3 million estonians, but at least 10 million people around the world should connect themselves to Estonia via the digital identity. E-residence can make Estonia truly great!

Read more from Taavi Kotka blog

The co-authors of this idea are Ruth Annus and Siim Sikkut.

G4S to set up its European shared services centre in Tallinn

Global security services provider G4S is following in the steps of several other multinationals such as Statoil Fuel & Retail or Kühne + Nagel and has decided to set up its pan-European shared services centre in Estonia, writes today’s Äripäev.

The move is expected to create about 100 jobs and bring the state up to one million euros in additional taxes a year.

The new centre will be providing services to 26 countnries in Europe.

Read more from BBN

Estonia’s economic linkages with Russia

Russia’s share in Estonia’s foreign trade is below 10%
Russia’s share in Estonia’s foreign trade is rather small, only 9% in 2013. However, Russia’s market is more relevant for certain sectors, like food industry and agriculture, as well as chemical and textile industries. As a source of raw materials, Russia is important for timber, furniture, chemical, and metal industries. Russia’s market is also significant for Estonia’s exports of transport and travel services.

Russia’s share in foreign investments remains small
The stock of Estonia’s investment in Russia and Russia’s investment in Estonia remains modest. At the end of 2013, the stock of Estonia’s investments in Russia amounted to 4% in Estonia’s total investment abroad, and the stock of Russia’s investment in Estonia was also 4% of all foreign investment in Estonia.

The crisis in Ukraine will affect trade and investment flows
Exports to Russia are affected not only by the decreasing purchasing power of Russians, but also by possible trade barriers. Investment flows will be smaller because investing in Eastern Europe is considered more risky and will be less profitable when economic growth in the region will be slower. If the conflict in Ukraine does not escalate and sanctions remain targeted with a modest impact, the Baltic economies are still expected to grow, albeit slower than anticipated before. Should the conflict escalate and broader trade sanctions be introduced, Estonia and the other Baltic economies will probably be hit harder – in which case a recession should not be ruled out.

Read more from Swedbank Macro Research

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