Wine and liquor wholesale companies Altia Corporation and Norwegian Arcus ASA announced today their plans for a restructuring arrangement aimed at merging. The Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy has discussed the matter and is in favour of the draft terms of the merger.
Arcus is Norway's largest wholesaler of wine and liquor; Altia is a Finnish state-owned corporation which produces, imports, exports and markets alcoholic beverages.
The matter will be discussed at the government plenary session in October-November. Following this, the companies will decide on the approval of the draft terms at their extraordinary general meetings, the government said in a press release.
“I am pleased that the resulting company will be Finnish and will have its headquarters in Helsinki. In addition, the company’s share will be listed only on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki and its Chief Executive Officer will be Finnish,” says Minister Tytti Tuppurainen, who is responsible for ownership steering.
The current chair of the board of directors of Arcus will become chair of the board of directors of the new company, while the current chair of the board of directors of Altia will be its Vice-Chair.
The Finnish State will be the second-largest shareholder, with an estimated holding of 19.4%.
The main owner of Arcus, the private holding Canica, will become the largest shareholder, with an estimated holding of 22.4%. An estimated 11.6% stake in the new company will be held by Altia’s nearly 20,000 private investors. The involvement of Finnish private investors was considered important when Altia was listed on the stock exchange.
“This is a balanced merger of two equal companies. In the new company, Finnish raw materials and responsible production will play a key role. Both of Altia’s production plants, the Rajamäki alcoholic beverage plant and the Koskenkorva distillery, will continue their operations,” says Minister Tuppurainen.
Government says the Koskenkorva distillery’s production volumes will increase, as the distillery will begin producing grain liquor for Arcus products as well. This is expected to strengthen the demand for Finnish grain, according to the release.
"Strategically, the business arrangement would also create an opportunity to gain access to a wider market outside the Nordic countries, which would lead to growth and improve the ownership’s potential for value creation," the government explains.
The final decision on the merger will be made at the general meetings of Altia and Arcus, which are expected to take place in November 2020.
The final content and implementation of the merger require the approval of the Finnish Competition Authority, which is expected to take 3–9 months.