More Estonian outlets

April 6, 1999, 01:00 CEST

Nineteen service stations in Estonia were transferred from Alexela Oil to Statoil on 1 April.

A deal between the Estonian company and Statoil last December originally covered the acquisition of 24 stations, but five of these were excluded during final negotiations.

The transaction brings the group's total service station network in the Baltic state to 33.

"We're now represented nationwide in Estonia instead of just the principal cities," explains Epp Kiviaed, who heads Statoil's operations in Estonia.

The group plans to invest just under NOK 10 million in upgrading and adapting the Alexela stations to its own standards.

It intends to operate eight of the 19 directly, with the remainder being run by dealers. About 80 staff hired for the directly-managed forecourts will be given thorough training.

"Nobody's being made redundant through the acquisition," says Geir Gransbråten, head of group operations in Estonia and the other two Baltic states, Latvia and Lithuania.

"In fact, we've actually increased the workforce a little. We're expecting to become the Estonian market leader through this take-over, with a 20-22 per cent share."

That percentage is based on Statoil's own calculations, since no official market statistics are available in the Baltic states.

Mr Gransbråten explains that the group aims to be market leader in all three of the countries, with a network of 110 stations by 2001. Statoil currently owns and operates 92 stations in 37 towns across the region.