Company briefs - 2008-01-16

  • 2008-01-16
Owners of Estonian Cell, an aspen pulp plant in Kunda, said they are worried about the deterioration of Estonia's economic climate. Board member Riia Ratnik said that the company sent a letter to the government expressing its concerns. "We are waiting for the reaction 's whether Estonia needs industry or does not," Ratnik said. "Industry is the pillar of the economy, not real estate business or trade, but decisions of the government work against industry," she complained, adding that politicians recently passed a series of decisions 's including the excise on electricity, a change in the methods of calculating grid transmission fees, and a renewable energy fee established last May 's that put industrial companies into a complex predicament.

Lithuanian businessman Kestutis Juscius, owner of Baltic Champignons, one of the largest mushroom-growers in Eastern Europe, bought a farm in the Moscow region in the hope of transforming it into a leading mushroom supplier on the local market. Ekozona, an asset management and investment company owned by Juscius, purchased the mushroom growing farm in the Moscow region late in 2007 and registered a Russian company, Nacionalnaya Gribnaya Kompaniya (National Mushroom Company). Juscius said that he intended to invest up to 5 million litas (1.45 million euros) in Russia in 2008. "We have been selling our products in Russia for around five years now. We saw that the market was expanding at a fast pace and had a high potential for growth, so we decided to start our business there," he told the Verslo Zinios business daily. The businessman expects to sell around 5,000 tons of mushrooms in Russia annually, of which some 2,000 tons will be shipped from Lithuania. Baltic Champignons posted a 23.1 percent rise in annual revenue to 33 million litas last year.

Latvenergo said it wants to raise the electricity price by an average 37.6 percent beginning March 1, with the average tariff growing from 0.051 lat (0.072 euro) to 0.071 lat per kilowatt-hour. The company said the monthly electricity bill for more than half of Latvia's population would grow by no more than 1.7 lats as a result of the increase, which must first be approved. Spokesman Andris Siksnis said the company has submitted a draft tariff plan to the public utilities regulator. The new tariff plan is necessary due to higher prices for natural gas, as well as those for infrastructure services, which are also growing in line with inflation.