19 Apr 2024 14:29

Lithuania's Viciunu grupe sells Russian assets to St. Petersburg's Ocean Group

KALININGRAD. April 19 (Interfax) - JSC Ocean Group Management Company (St. Petersburg) is the new owner of fish processor Viciunai-Rus LLC (Kaliningrad region), previously part of Lithuanian Viciunu grupe, the Unified State Register of Legal Entities shows.

The Unified State Register of Legal Entities entry was updated on April 18. Ocean Group Management Company now owns 100% of the LLC. Previously, Viciunu grupe was sole owner of Viciunai-Rus.

Viciunu Grupe CEO Sarunas Matijosaitis declined a request by the BNS news agency to comment on the deal.

The deal was approved by the Government Commission on Control over Foreign Investments in the Russian Federation in February 2024, Viciunai-Rus reporting for 2023 said.

The reporting also says that a transaction is planned for the assignment of rights of claim under loan and debt agreements of Viciunai-Rus and the Estonian Viciunai Nordic AS for a total amount of $29.4 million and 1.9 million euro in favor of Ocean Group Management Company.

Viciunai-Rus LLC had debt to banks VTB, Gazprombank, Rosbank and Alfa Bank as of December 31, 2023 totaling 3 billion rubles. At the same time, the company received subsidies from the Kaliningrad regional government in 2023 for import substitution and job preservation totaling 703 million rubles.

Currently, Viciunai-Rus LLC, a resident of a special economic zone in the Kaliningrad region, is implementing a production modernization project. Investments in the project were adjusted in September 2023 and are now expected to reach 710 million rubles, while in November 2020, the company planned to invest 1 billion rubles. The company employed 1.2 thousand people at the end of 2023.

The company's statement says that sanctions imposed on Russian enterprises in 2022 did not have a significant negative impact on the company's production activities. Logistics chains for the supply of raw materials changed. In 2023, Viciunai-Rus LLC had sales of 18.213 billion rubles in 2023, an 11% increase versus prior year. Net profit was 1.27 billion rubles.

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Kaliningrad Region reported in December 2023 that Viciunai-Rus LLC produces more than 1,500 types of products, including breaded culinary semi-finished products, smoked mackerel, salmon and butterfish, preserved herring, seafood and frozen shrimp.

Finished products ship throughout Russia and for export. Currently, the company is modernizing two of its main lines. This will increase productivity to 200 tonnes of finished products per week.

Viciunu grupe, owned by Mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania Visvaldas Matijosaitis and his business partner Ludas Skerius, announced plans to sell the business in Russia in the spring of 2022, but the process was a slow one.

Ocean Group Management Company was established in St. Petersburg in June 2023; the owners are not disclosed in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. A source from Kommersant said the company might be acting in the interests of Unifrost, a large importer and distributor of fish and seafood based in St. Petersburg.