Polish government announces share sale in duty free retailer Baltona – 13/07/05

POLAND. The Polish Ministry of State Treasury has invited bids for the 26.83% of shares it holds in duty free retailer and ship chandler PHZ Baltona.

The sale of the 4,790 shares was announced yesterday. The Ministry is in charge of the restructuring and privatisation of Poland’s state-run companies.

Baltona is based in the Baltic Sea port Gdynia, northern Poland. The diverse company’s main activity is airport duty free. It claims that in 2003 about 30% of passengers flying from Warsaw Okecie International Airport bought goods offered by the Baltona duty free shop. The Warsaw business and Baltona’s border shop sales were affected badly by Poland’s accession to the European Union which meant the elimination of intra-EU duty free sales.

Background on Baltona: For students of the duty free industry pre the fall of the former Communist regimes of East Europe, Baltona was a powerful force, dominating Poland’s duty free and hard currency industry and generating huge annual revenues. The 1990s were not so kind to the group as the country opened up to foreign competition – notably from SAS Trading at Warsaw Airport – and Poland’s accession to the EU was a further blow to duty free.

Still, the company enjoys a strong presence in a market that has strong tourism and business traffic.

Foreign Trade Enterprise Baltona was established in 1946 as a limited liability company and it was converted into a joint-stock company in 1984. It is one of the oldest companies connected with Poland’s maritime trade and economy, which is symbolised by a walking sailor – Baltona’s trademark.

Its classical duty free retail activities are dominated by airport sales but it also has shipchandling (10% of revenues), diplomatic corps supply and export operations. Baltona also offers travel and a logistics services.

As well as its important ship supply business, Baltona operates shops at Warsaw Okecie International Airport, Gdansk Rebiechowo, Wroclaw Strachowice, Katowice Pyrzowice, Kraków Balice, Szczecin Goleniów and Poznan Lawica airports. It has a border store at Świnoujście.

Breakdown of sales by division

Duty free retailing: 75%
Ship supply: 10%
Duty paid retail: 7%
Export: 2%
Diplomatic Corps Supply: 1%
Other services: 5%

NOTE: This story was originally published by The Moodie Report VIP News Alert, an e-mail service sent free of charge to all 6,500-plus readers of The Moodie Report weekly e-newsletter and pdf. It is devoted to stories of major interest and is sponsored by BPI.


Baltona stabilises business in new EU environment – 14/05/04

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