Back then, shares were subject to a daily price fluctuation limit of 15 percent of share price. Trading was halted when the limit was reached. The exchange decided to move the limit to 25 percent, so trading could continue.
As it was the peak of the stock exchange boom, shares of Olympic EG were popular. The company’s IPO was and remains one of the most successful initial offerings in the history of the Baltic states. Its total volume came to 1.124 billion kroons (€72 million) while 7.5 billion kroons (€479 million) worth of requests were made.
“It is a historic result – no Baltic company has seen 7.5 billion kroons worth of requests before,” said head of stock markets at Hansapank Lauri Lind at the time. Lind was also the main organizer of the IPO.
Olympic taking to the exchange was a real jackpot for major owners Armin Karu and Jaan Korpusov as well as thousands of small shareholders. Karu became the wealthiest man in Estonia overnight. His assets were estimated at €220 million by the end of the first day of trading and €347 million by the end of the first year. Today, Äripäev puts the assets of Estonia’s wealthiest person, forestry mogul Raul Kirjanen at €226.7 million.
Karu and Korpusov have now decided to sell their life’s work. The company announced yesterday that the men will sell their holdings to private capital firm Novalpina Capital at €1.9 per share.
Armin Karu owns 68.36 million shares through Hansa Asset, or 45.05 percent of Olympic EG, while Jaan Korpusov owns 28.76 million shares through Hendeya Invest, good enough for 18.95 percent of all shares.
Armin Karu will make €130 million from sale of shares to which he can add €6 million for a 5-percent holding in Olympic EG subsidiary Olympic Casino. Karu will get a total of €136 million and Korpusov €55 million from sale of shares.
The takeover puts the market price of Olympic EG at €288 million that makes it the third-fourth most valuable company on the Tallinn exchange together with LHV Group. The company communicated it will make a takeover bid to all small shareholders and plans to withdraw from the exchange.
Karu and Korpusov own a total of 64 percent of Olympic EG’s shares. The remaining 36 percent are owned by roughly 5,000 small shareholders who include foreign institutional investors, pension funds, local businessmen and individuals. While Olympic EG announced that the share price is more than 3 percent higher than the six-month average, because it is three cents lower than the closing price on Friday, shareholders are less than happy with the offer.