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HomeLithuaniaRussia’s Gruppa Okean has acquired Lithuanian Viciunai Group's business in Russia

Russia’s Gruppa Okean has acquired Lithuanian Viciunai Group’s business in Russia

Viciunai Group, a fish and other food production and trading group owned by Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis and his business partner Liudas Skierus, has sold its entire business in Russia – a factory in Sovetsk, a town in Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, and six other companies involved in logistics, warehousing, wholesale of surimi products, and waste management – to Gruppa Okean, a Russian management company.

Gruppa Okean is linked to Unifrost, a large Russian importer of fish and seafood.

The transactions were registered in the Russian Register of Legal Entities on Thursday, April 18, according to the documents provided to BNS by Siena (Wall), an investigative journalism center.

They show that Gruppa Okean, registered in St Petersburg, owns 100 percent of shares in Viciunai-Rus and stakes in six more companies.

In addition to Viciunai-Rus, the Lithuanian group has until recently owned Baltko, a Moscow-based surimi and fish wholesaler, Frost Logistics, a logistics and warehousing company in the Kaliningrad region, its subsidiary LK Centrus, a logistics and freight forwarding company, as well as Vicirustrans, a logistics, freight forwarding and waste processing company, Fort Trans Logistika, a Moscow region-based food wholesaler and freight forwarding company, and Refterminal, a warehousing and wholesale company in Kaliningrad.

The Russian register does not contain data on the beneficiaries, founders or owners of Gruppa Okean, its accounts or information on its other activities. The only information that is publicly available is that the company has not been included in any sanctions lists and that it is headed by Maria Bukharova. The company’s activities include investments in the share capital of companies, venture capital investments, including through investment companies.

Gruppa Okean has an authorized capital of 100,000 rubles (approx. EUR 1,000).

Russian media reported last week that the buyer of Viciunai-Rus is linked to Unifrost.

Sarunas Matijosaitis, the head of Viciunai Group, refused to comment on the deal to BNS: “I don’t want to comment, thank you.”

However, the group’s representatives promise to make an official comment to the media later.

According to Viciunai-Rus’ 2023 report, seen by BNS, the plan was to transfer claim rights under loan and debt agreements between Viciunai-Rus and Estonia’s Viciunai-Nordic, totaling 29.4 million US dollars and 1.86 million euros, in favor of the managing company Gruppa Okean.

The report also says that the Russian government’s Commission on Control over Foreign Investments in the Russian Federation approved the sale and purchase of 100 percent of the shares of Viciunai-Rus in Sovetsk on February 5.

According to Russian media, Gruppa Okean was established in Saint Petersburg in June 2023, but its owners are not named in Russia’s Unified State Register of Legal Entities.

According to a Forbes.ru source, the company may be acting in the interests of Unifrost, but Unifrost itself has refused to comment on third-party transactions, according to the website.

The owners of Viciunai Group previously insisted they had been trying to sell their business in Kaliningrad since the spring of 2022 following Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Lithuanian group is on the Ukrainian National Agency on Corruption Prevention’s list of “International Supporters of War”.

Viciunai Group companies paid 5.46 billion rubles (54.7 million euros) in taxes to the Russian budget last year, 10.2 percent more than in 2022, according to the STOP Trade in Russia initiative group.

Profits at Sovetsk’s Viciunai Rus alone fell 32.6 percent last year to 1.27 billion rubles (12.72 million euros), while revenue rose 11.2 percent to 18.21 billion rubles (182.37 million euros).

Matijosaitis and Skierius each own 50 percent of VG Holding, which manages Viciunai Group.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)


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