On February 26, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Eversheds Sutherland had advised Valmieras Stikla Skiedra on the sale of 83.14% of the share capital from the company’s controlling shareholder group to Duke I S.a.r.l. CEEIHM spoke with Ilze Saviele, Legal Counsel at VSS, to learn more about the sale.
CEEIHM: Can you tell us a bit about VSS?
Ilze: VSS is located in the city of Valmiera in northern Latvia and is one of the leading glass fiber manufacturers in Europe, with more than 55 years of experience in the production of glass fiber. At the moment Valmiera has one subsidiary in the United Kingdom – Valmiera Glass UK Ltd., which produces glass fiber products for the aviation industry, thermal insulation applications, and architecture.
VSS specializes in the manufacturing of glass fiber and glass fiber products using three different types of glass with different temperature resistances (as much as 1000+ degrees Celsius). Our products are used for further processing, in technical (electrical, thermal, and acoustic) insulation materials, and as finished materials in mechanical engineering, construction, and elsewhere.
We like to say, that our mission is “crafting the impossible." With our products, we help improve the quality of life and ensure energy efficiency and fire safety, thus creating a safer and more environmentally-friendly world.
CEEIHM: Your company recently restructured its debt and sold 83% of its shares to Duke I S.a.r.l. Why, in your view, did Duke I take an interest in your company?
Ilze: In my opinion, the glass fiber business is the future with good demand and opportunities. In fact, maybe we do not even realize it, but we see glass fiber products every day – in mobile phones, airplanes, buildings, autos, etc. We are producing the start of these products and this business also has the perspective to make the world more environmentally-friendly. Beyond that, Valmiera is a company with strong roots and experienced employees. And I believe that is what 'Duke I' saw in the company.
CEEIHM: What are some of the next steps for your company, following this transaction?
Ilze: During this transaction, we managed the restructuring of existing liabilities for another five years and attracted new funds. The main focus at the moment is to invest these funds in the business to increase our competitiveness in the market through a larger capacity and the development of new products. One of the biggest projects this year is one related to glass melting furnace repair.
CEEIHM: How did Eversheds Sutherland handle the intricacies of this complex deal?
Ilze: We are very thankful to the Eversheds Sutherland team, led by Partner Maris Vainovskis. The structure of the transaction was not very easy because there were many parties involved – VSS, two financing banks, existing shareholders (who remain as minority shareholders of VSS) and the new investor. Furthermore, VSS's shares were listed the whole time, thus under the regulations of NASDAQ and the Financial and Capital Market Commission.
During the deal, Eversheds Sutherland always had the right feeling for what was feasible and what was necessary, and, of course, always had an eye on costs.
CEEIHM: Why did you choose Eversheds Sutherland as your advisor?
Ilze: We started to work with Eversheds Sutherland at the beginning of 2019. During several projects where Eversheds Sutherland was our legal advisor, the team proved its professionalism and experience in different fields. When you work with a partner like Eversheds Sutherland during a difficult time, you naturally develop a certain trust and understanding of its business and needs. It was extremely helpful to complete the project on two continents, in four countries, and with a total of up to 12 contracting parties, cost-effectively and on schedule.
Originally reported by CEE In-House Matters.