Announcements

Olympic Entertainment Group acquired Latvia’s second-largest casino operator

Posted on 19.12.2005

Under a deal closed on Sunday, 18 December, Olympic Entertainment Group (Olympic Casino), the largest casino operator in the Baltic states, acquired 100 pct of Baltic Gaming A/S, Latvia’s second-largest casino operator. The acquisition is one of the largest direct investments made by an Estonian company in Latvia. The transaction took effect at the moment of signing and the contracting parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.



As a result of the transaction, the market share of Olympic Entertainment Group that owns Olympic Casino, will increase to 15 pct on the Latvian saturated gaming market. This will be only 5 pct less than that of the market leader. “The primary objective of the transaction was to ensure that the company is able to develop on the Latvian market both in a stable and powerful manner. In Latvia we are determined to become the market leader in the nearest few years,” said Armin Karu, Chairman of Olympic Casino, commenting the purchase transaction.

Baltic Gaming A/S owns 33 casinos in Latvia including Voodoo, one of the most popular casinos in Riga that is located in Reval Hotel Latvija. Of the company’s casinos, 32 are slotmachine casinos which until now have operated under the Bumerangs brand. “All casinos are operating with a profit and will remain in business also in the future,” assured Mr. Karu. He added that in the course of 2006, many of them will be upgraded to comply with the standards of Olympic Casino and will be rebranded under the Olympic Casino name.

During the next year the company plans to invest to Latvia another EUR 8 mln. In the last three years Olympic Casino has invested in its operations in Latvia around EUR 9 mln. Among others, the company owns Riga’s largest and most popular casino in Radisson SAS Hotell.

Baltic Gaming that has annual turnover of approximately EUR 12 mln employs up to 600 people. During the year, Olympic Casino plans to merge the operations of its Latvian subsidiary Olympic Casino Latvija and Baltic Gaming. In the course of the merger process the company will be managed by a joint Management Board. “In larger mergers there is often talk about cutbacks – I can assure you that the operations of Baltic Gaming have been successful which means that we are not planning any major staff changes in the nearest future,” said Armin Karu, Chairman of Olympic Casino. He added that since the company was planning to expand further in Latvia in the nearest future, it could well hire more people.

As one of Latvia’s leading casino operators, Baltic Gaming A/S was owned by a group of private persons. According to group president Niklas Braathen, one of the most important factors in entering the transaction was to find a suitable buyer.

"When you have for more than ten years put your heart into your business, it is only natural that when you sell it you will make sure that the company will be in good hands – a buyer you can trust. I believe that we have managed to close the deal with exactly such a buyer who is capable of maintaining a high level of operations and ensure even better opportunities for development to our more than 600 employees,” said Mr. Braathen in comment. He also said he appreciated Olympic Casino’s high quality standards, strong development in recent years and international presence. “We are looking into the future with hop that we will be able to develop the business jointly with Olympic Casino,” he added.

For clients, the changes will come step-by-step. Most casinos acquired under the deal will start operating under the Olympic Casino brand, but only after comprehensive upgrading in completed. “We will also bring a much more versatile entertainment programme in the new slot casinos since this has been a clear competitive advantage of Olympic Casion in all our markets,” said Mr. Karu speaking about upcoming changes. He added that it was paramount that the client of Olympic Casino can feel himself or herself well regardless of the market or specific gaming location. The clients will welcome the plan to join Mystery Jackpot and Megalats, the two jackpot systems of both casino groups which together will be able to offer even better winning chances. Moreover, in the near future the clients of Baltic Gaming will gain access to the loyal customer programme of Olympic Casino and its many special offers.

Olympic Entertainment Group that started operations in Estonia in 1993 now operates also in Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. Olympic Casino is a clear market leader in Estonia and Lithuania. In Latvia, following the yesterday’s transaction, the company will be the country’s second-largest gaming operator. Turnover of Olympic Casino was over EUR 40 mln in 2004. Olympic Casino is also full member of the European Casino Association (ECA).

At present the company’s network consists of 16 casinos in Estonia, 38 in Latvia, 7 in Lithuania and four in Ukraine. The company employs a total of more than 1,900 people in Baltic states and Ukraine. The company’s working procedures are certified according to the ISO 9001 quality standard. Olympic Casino is the sponsor of the Estonian Olympic Committee.

For additional information please contact:
Andri Avila, Finance Director, Olympic Entertainment Group
tel: +372 667 1250
e-mail: andri.avila@ocg.ee

Niklas Braathen, President of Baltic Gaming A/S
Tel: +371 737 0556

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