Off the wire

  • 2001-06-07
OIL FROM TIRES: The Estonian oil company Viru Olitoostus, a subsidiary of the chemical company Viru Keemia Grupp, is planning to produce oil from used tires, the Estonian daily newspaper Pohjarannik reported on May 30. At present Viru Olitoostus is adjusting an oil generator where tests of oil production from tire waste will start in about two weeks. Viru Keemia Grupp development director Jaanus Purga said the first tests have been positive. Viru Keemia Grupp will import tires from Belgium and the Netherlands. "As we will get the raw material for free and can ask the same price for the oil as we do for shale oil, it is clear it will make oil production considerably more profitable for us," Purga said. He stressed that the company still plans to continue the use of shale oil. "Use of alternative raw materials is one of the development trends for Viru Keemia Grupp," he said.

STEEL MILL: The U.S. steel processing company Penninox in July plans to begin building a stainless steel processing facility project in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. The facility should begin production in about two years, Judita Simonaviciute, managing director of Penninox Baltika, the U.S. company's subsidiary in Lithuania, said on June 1. Penninox intends to invest $45 million in Lithuania and employ 200 people. The latest technologies should be used at the plant. The company is planning to import raw material from Europe. The production at the Klaipeda plant – stainless steel flat bars and pipes – will be exported to Germany. The company has already invested $1 million dollars in the site. The new stainless steel facility in Klaipeda will be the first subsidiary of the U.S. company in Europe.

HUGE PROFITS: Latvia's leading mobile-telecommunications operator, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, will pay 6.80 million lats ($10.7 million) in dividends from last year's profit, LMT spokesman Valdis Jalinskis said June 1. LMT's profit last year was 25.66 million lats, up 31.9 percent over 1999. Swedish telecommunications operator Telia AB and Finnish telecommunications giant Sonera Holding BV each hold a 24.5 percent stake in LMT. Latvia's fixed-line operator Lattelekom and Latvian State Radio and Television Center each hold 23 percent and the Latvian state owns 5 percent in the mobile operator. Last year, LMT generated net sales of 86.16 million lats, up by 33.4 percent or 21.57 million lats over 1999.

CLEAN DAIRIES: Inspectors of the European Commission's food and veterinary board assessed the situation of Estonian dairies as generally positive after an inspection to establish whether they are in line with European Union requirements. The inspectors were satisfied with the organization of state supervision and also that the dairies were, in principle, in line with the general terms, said the head of the Estonian Veterinary and Food Board food hygiene department Raimond Strastin. He added that the inspectors were also satisfied with the terms of ensuring food hygiene and safety. The EU inspectors, who were on a visit to Estonia since June 4, went to a few Estonian dairies, including Polva Piim, Rakvere Piim, the creamery Annikvere Juustutoostus, Laeva Meierei and Raply dairy as well as two dairy farms. Successful results of the EU inspection will make it possible for the dairies to meet new milk-product export quotas which will rise by nearly one-third as of July 1.

SETTING TARGETS: The information technology company Tilde and the Age Com marketing communications holding company have established a new IT company, RIX Technologies, to develop individual IT solutions for business clients. The new company will also provide IT consultation and work with Internet-based management information systems. RIX Technologies will target companies in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. In total, some 200,000 lats ($317,000) are planned to be invested and some 30 people employed by the new company. Tilde is one of the leading software sellers and developers in Latvia. Last year, Tilde generated sales of 4.8 million lats.

GAMBLER ATTACK: Benetreks Casino, a leading Estonian casino operator, is planning to open a slot machine center in Vilnius in September and set up its first casino in the Lithuanian capital next year, the daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reported on June 4. Benetreks Casino intends to set up gaming establishments in Klaipeda and Kaunas later. In total, it is set to open three slot machine centers in Vilnius this year. The Estonian company's investment in Lithuania should reach 30 million litas ($7.5) to 40 million litas over three years, according to the report. Armin Karu, chairman of the board of Benetreks Casino, said they were aiming for a one-third share of the Lithuanian market. In Estonia, the company has a one-third share of the domestic market in terms of turnover and a 65 percent share in terms of profits. According to Lietuvos Rytas, the Estonians think that global casino operators won't come to the Lithuanian market because it is too small for them. The same holds true for the other two Baltic countries. Benetreks Casino operates 9 casinos in Estonia. The company's profit reached about 14.5 million litas in 2000, and its turnover grew by 34 percent over the year.

ENTERING ESTONIA: The Lithuanian company Plunges Kooperatine Prekyba operating under the Viciunai trademark became on June 4 the owner of the Tallinn-based Paljassaare fish processing plant, which was formerly owned by AS Osel. The company declined to disclose the purchase price, but claimed it was Lithuania's largest investment in Estonia to date. Viciunai Baltic controls about 15 percent of the Estonian breaded fish products market and 25 percent of the crab-flavored fish fingers and noodle market. The company employs 16 people and has distribution centers in Tallinn and Estonia's second-largest city, Tartu.