Rautakirja's acquisition of a 51% majority holding in the Lithuanian press distribution company UAB Impress Teva on December 2004 has been completed. The Lithuanian competition authorities have approved the deal.
Impress Teva distributes newspapers and magazines to more than 1,300 points of sale and is therefore one of the most significant press distribution companies in Lithuania. Impress Teva had net sales of EUR 8.4 million in 2003 and it employs 106 persons.
In December 2004, Rautakirja's press distribution activities also expanded to Romania when it completed the preliminary agreement to purchase 51% of the Romanian press distribution company Hiparion Distribution S.A., made in July 2004.
Hiparion Distribution is responsible for the distribution of some 300 titles, of which 90% are magazines and the remainder newspapers. The company handles distribution directly to approximately 700 points of sale, and the products are also spread through small wholesalers to around 4,500 retail outlets. The company holds close to a 30% share of the Romanian press distribution market. Its net sales in 2004 were around EUR 13 million and it employs some 200 people.
SanomaWSOY's Division Rautakirja has had strong international expansion in recent years. Alongside its press distribution operations, Rautakirja is active in the kiosk trade in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and the Czech Republic, and carries on movie theatre operations in Finland and across the Baltic Countries and bookstore operations in Finland and Estonia.