LOVE GERMAN PHONES: The import of mobile telephones into Lithuania increased fivefold in the first five months of 2000 compared with the same period last year, data provided by the country's Department of Statistics showed. Some 64,980 units worth a total of 34.60 million litas ($8.65 million) were brought into Lithuania over the January-May period this year, up from 12,580 units worth 9.35 million litas in the first five months of 1999. Exports decreased almost three times in the first five months of 2000 versus the same period last year. Some 4,160 units worth 2.01 million litas were exported in the January-May period this year, down from 11,710 units for 6.83 million litas a year ago. Germany was the largest mobile phone importer into Lithuania in the first five months of 2000 (22,770 units worth 11.22 million litas), while in the same period of 1999 the biggest amount of mobile telephones came from Finland (6,690 units for 6.04 million litas). The data showed a sharp increase in the British and Danish imports of mobile phones in Lithuania in the January-May period this year compared with the same period last year: to 7,510 units from eight units, and to 4,770 units from 258 respectively.
MICROLINK SHARES ISSUE: Microlink, the largest information technology group in the Baltics, has issued 550,000 lats ($890,000) in shares through Hansabank Markets in Latvia. Microlink CEO Allan Martinson said the money attracted in the issue will be used to refinance loans taken by the group's Latvian subsidiaries.The issue, which is the first under Microlink's commercial papers program in Latvia, matures in 359 days. The issue was subscribed mostly by Latvian insurance companies. The Microlink group comprises more than 20 companies in all three Baltic states. The group's unaudited turnover in the financial year ending June 30 totaled 721 million kroons. Microlink has previously carried out a number of bond issues in Estonia, the total volume of which as of the end of June amounted to over 90 million kroons.
NO MORE CONDUCTORS? The Tallinn city government has announced a tender to set electronic payment of public transport fares in the capital. Margo Toomingas, chief specialist at the city government's transportation board, said the new system must offer a better overview of the usage of the city's public transport. The system would replace the present tickets with electronic means of payment that are safe against counterfeiting. Passengers will be able to buy a ticket, valid for one hour on all means of public transport, from the driver, Toomingas said. The city would pay rent for the electronic system over six years. The agreement with the operator is to be signed through the end of November 2006. The deadline for entries in the tender is Sept. 8.
LITAS INCREASE: Lithuania's money supply grew 1.2 percent to 9.335 billion litas ($ 2.33 billion) in June, the central bank reported. The overall volume of currency in circulation and demand deposits increased by 3.5 percent to 5.118 billion litas during the month. Currency in circulation and demand deposits made up 51.66 percent and 48.34 percent of the volume respectively. Currency in circulation rose 5.2 percent to 2.644 billion litas, and demand deposits grew by 1.8 percent to 2.474 billion litas. The amount of time and savings deposits increased by 1.3 percent to 1.192 billion litas, while foreign currency deposits rose by 1.3 percent to 3.026 billion litas last month. The net foreign assets of the Lithuanian banking system grew by 10.6 percent to 4.906 billion litas over June. The domestic credit within the banking system decreased by 5.4 percent to 5.674 billion litas during that period.
SWEDES BID FOR RR: SJ International, a subsidiary of Sweden's state railway company has confirmed its participation in the privatization of a 66 percent stake in Estonian railway Eesti Raudtee, spokesman for parent company Als Thonberg told BNS Aug. 1. Apart from SJ International, Baltic Rail Services, a consortium of U.S., British and Estonian firms; the U.S. rail company CSX Transportation; and Raudtee Erastamise Rahva AS, a
company set up by local businessmen, have officially announced their participation in the privatization of Eesti Raudtee. The council of the Privatization Agency is expected to pick second-round bidders on August 16.