Rautakirja's Lehtipiste business unit has acquired the entire share capital of the Estonian press distribution company AS Lehepunkt. Lehepunkt has previously been a joint venture between Rautakirja and Estonia's leading publisher AS Ekspress Grupp, each of which owned 50% of the company.

"The deal now signed will clarify wholesale press distribution functions in Estonia, as Ekspress Grupp will be able to concentrate on its basic commercial activities of publishing and Lehepunkt will be able to make full use of Lehtipiste's strong expertise in newspaper and magazine distribution", comments Markus Miettinen, SVP of Rautakirja's Press Distribution business.

AS Lehepunkt recorded net sales of EUR 11.9 million in 2001, and operating profit of EUR 0.7 million. The company has a 90% share of the Estonian newspaper and magazine distribution market, and it distributes titles to some 1,300 points of sale around the country. After the rearrangements, the Lehepunkt Managing Director Priit Vakkum will continue in office.

In the same way, AS Lehepunkt's distribution agreements with publishers and retailers will continue as before. The company will be working to develop and expand in cooperation with Estonian publishers and the retail trade, with the aim of strengthening Lehepunkt's position as the leading press wholesaler in the country.

Earlier this spring, on May 2nd, Rautakirja's Lehtipiste has launched press distribution operations also in Latvia through a new company NB Logistika, which is a part of the joint company Narvesen Baltija, owned equally by Rautakirja and the Norwegian concern Reitan Narvesen ASA.

The Rautakirja Group further enjoys a strong market position in kiosk, bookstore, and cinema operations in Estonia, in kiosk and cinema operations in Latvia, and most recently in cinema operations in Lithuania.