At the end of May, Rautakirja acquired the leading Lithuanian kiosk chain Lietuvos Spauda, with a nationwide reach in that country. The deal has been completed today, 15 December 2005, after the Lithuanian competition authorities have provided the necessary approval and ratification certificates.
- This is a significant step for us, as we have now achieved market leadership in the kiosk trade, press distribution, and in movie theatre operations in all three of the Baltic Republics, says Rautakirja President and CEO Erkki Järvinen. Already in the nine-month period to the end of September, some 17% of Rautakirja's net sales came from units outside Finland. - It is our strategic target that within the next couple of years we shall see at least a quarter of our annual net sales coming from abroad, states Järvinen.
- The profit performance of our foreign acquisitions has been good. We have succeeded in achieving our goals by means of a focused growth strategy, continues Järvinen. He notes that the next phase of expansion has already begun, following Rautakirja's purchase in June of a press distribution company operating in the Moscow area. - We are now actively seeking growth and expansion potential both from Russia and from the countries of Eastern Central Europe, Erkki Järvinen explains. The main spearheads for the expansion programme will be the mutually complementary pairing of press distribution and kiosk operations.
The Lietuvos Spauda chain comprises a total of 540 kiosk outlets and 2004 net sales of around EUR 17 million and the company is profitable. Lietuvos Spauda employs roughly 1,200 persons and Vidas Ksanas will continue as Managing Director. After this acquisition, more than 40% of those employed by the Rautakirja Group are working in units abroad.
Rautakirja is part of SanomaWSOY. In addition to its Baltic States activities, Rautakirja is engaged in press distribution operations in Russia and Romania, and has bookstore operations in Estonia.