School managers making a killing

Tõnis Oja
, majandusajakirjanik
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Photo: Vivatex Holding

Three property managers that have long-term concession contracts with the city of Tallinn paid owners a total of €4.7 million in dividends in 2017, up €1.2 million on the year.

The city paid the three companies a total of €7.9 million last year, meaning that 59 percent of the money ended up as income for the owners, the firms’ annual reports reveal.

The city of Tallinn has long-term school and kindergarten property management contracts with four companies: Vivatex Holding, BCA Center, Kooliarendus and K&L Arendus.

BCA was paid €3.8 million last year, the company’s net profit shrank by 32 percent to €1.4 million and owners were paid €3 million. More modest net profit was caused by smaller interest income and a bigger income tax payment due to dividends. BCA paid owners €2.28 million euros in 2016.

Kooliarendus received a little over two million euros from Tallinn last year. Profit grew by 23 percent to €1.1 million and the company’s dividend payment amounted to €0.88 million (€0.54 million in 2016).

K&L Arendus was paid €2 million last year, with its net profit coming to €0.79 million and dividend payment to €0.8 million (€0.65 million in 2016).

Owners of the three companies include father and son Tiit and Toomas Kõuhkna and heads of contractor Skanska, Jaanus Ots and Olaf Herman.

Postimees wrote two years ago that the three companies form a curious family where the owners overlap, there are common board members and postal addresses. The fourth schools’ property manager, Urmas Sõõrumaa’s Vivatex Holding, received €4.6 million from the city and its net profit grew by a third to €3.1 million. Sõõrumaa has not taken dividends from Vivatex.

Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas (Center Party) said before local elections last year that the hugely profitable property management contracts would be terminated or their conditions revised; however, nothing has followed. Õhtuleht wrote two months ago that the city is in talks with Vivatex and BCA Center but has not contacted Kooliarendus and K&L Arendus.

Tallinn held a competition to find a holder for ten school buildings in 2006 that was won by Vivatex and BCA Center, controlled at the time by Oliver Kruuda. Vivatex became the manager of Pelgulinna High School, Tallinn 32nd High School, Kristiine High School, Kalamaja Basic School and Laagna High School buildings. BCA took over management of the buildings of Karjamaa High School, Haabersti Russian High School, Sikupilli High School, Nõmme High School and Tallinn Coeducational High School.

In 2009, Tallinn signed a contract with a third company – OÜ Kooliarendus that is owned by the Kõuhknas, Jaanus Otsa et al. who also own OÜ K&L Arendus.