While Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has been trying to downplay the Russia-oriented business of Stark Logistics, an Estonian road haulage company co-owned by her husband Arvo Hallik, the Russia-oriented business of Metaprint, a holding of the largest owner of Stark Logistics, is unequivocally subject to the sanctions related to the war in Ukraine, as the company itself has stated in its latest annual report.
What one can gather from Kaja Kallas' scant comments is that Stark Logistics provided Metaprint with transport services to relocate a factory that had been closed down in Russia following the outbreak of the war. However, strangely enough, Metaprint itself did not consider such a major business decision to be worth mentioning in its annual report.
As regards its business in Russia, the company only notes that the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine continue to bring uncertainty about future developments.
«On March 27 this year, a new package of European Union sanctions came into force, which strongly affects Metaprint's activities in the direction of Russia: namely, it is forbidden to sell aerosol cans and tinplate to Russia,» the management of Metaprint says.
The management points out that the company's Russia-oriented turnover has fallen by 70 percent since March 27, but they have found new markets to make up for falling sales revenue. No mention can be found of the closure of the business unit in Russia in Metaprint's annual report, and it is also unclear how 30 percent of turnover in Russia could be maintained when they had no longer any operations there and were about to bring the business to Estonia.
It was, however, specifically the relocation of the Metaprint plant that the Stark Logistics CEO named as the reason when speaking about their need to runs trucks between Estonia and Russia despite Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine.
The CEO, Kristjan Kraag, told the media on Wednesday that Stark Logistics has an Estonian client, Metaprint, which has an aerosol packaging factory in Russia, the termination of the activity of which has been constantly publicly commented on by the owner in Estonian media.
«Stark Logistics has helped to close the business of this company in Russia because we know the client well because the client's owner is also the majority owner of Stark Logistics. All transport has taken place in the prescribed manner, the competent Estonian authorities have a well-documented overview of it, and no income has arisen for any Russian company or final beneficiary there -- the trucks used for it have not even refueled in Russia as part of the transport,» Kraag said.
Overall, Metaprint is doing well. In 2022, its sales revenue increased by 21.2 percent on year to 99.7 million euros and net profit rose by 27.5 percent to 15.4 million euros.
Sales to countries of the European Union accounted for 74.9 percent of total sales in 2022, growing by 17 percent over the year to 74.7 million euros. Sales in Estonia made up 17.3 million euros of this, up 23 percent year on year. Sales outside the European Union grew by 36 percent to 25 million euros. The report does not provide any further details on the non-EU countries where sales the revenue was generated. However, the report says that gains from changes in the exchange rate of the Russian ruble amounted to some 1.4 million euros last year.
Metaprint AS, founded in 1995, is a manufacturer of steel aerosol packaging. The company mainly produces aerosol packaging for technical products, but also for the food industry and beauty products. It has factories in Tallinn and Parnu.
Estonian businessman Martti Lemendik is a beneficial owner of both Stark Logistics AS and Metaprint AS.