Rautakirja to Become the Market Leader in Lithuanian Kiosk Trade

Rautakirja, a member of the SanomaWSOY Group, has acquired the Lietuvos Spauda kiosk chain. Lietuvos Spauda is the leading kiosk chain in Lithuania, with a nationwide coverage based on a total of 540 kiosk outlets. The deal strengthens significantly the position of Rautakirja in the Baltic region, since after the signing Rautakirja will become the market leader in all three of the Baltic Countries, both in kiosk and press distribution activities and in movie theatre operations. The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Lithuanian competition authorities.

The annual aggregate total sales of the Lietuvos Spauda kiosk chain are almost EUR 60 million, and the company is profitable. Sales come from pre-paid phone cards, public transport tickets, newspapers & magazines, and other traditional kiosk assortment items. The company employs some 1,200 persons and Vidas Ksanas will continue as CEO.

- This acquisition brings our long-term Baltic strategy to a well-crafted conclusion. The Lietuvos Spauda chain is in good financial shape and is operating under an efficient chain-management concept, says Rautakirja President and CEO Erkki Järvinen. Järvinen says that Rautakirja will bring to the Lithuanian company its considerable expertise in managing walk-in kiosks. Even though nearly all kiosks of the chain are traditional window-counter kiosks, the modern convenience store concept will be the trend also in Lithuania in the future.

UAB Lietuvos Spaudos Vilniaus Agentura was owned by six private persons, the principal owner being Ms. Romualda Ksaniene with an holding of a bit more than 49% of the shares. After the acquisition is completed, the company will become Rautakirja's fully owned subsidiary.

In addition to its operations in the Baltic Countries, Rautakirja is engaged in kiosk operations in the Czech Republic and press distribution operations in Romania, among others. In the first quarter of 2005, some 15% of Rautakirja net sales came from units outside Finland.

- We have now more than 2,000 kiosks in total, and we shall continue our strong internationalisation programme, particularly in Europe?s emerging markets, adds Erkki Järvinen.