Company briefs - 2005-10-12

  • 2005-10-12
Latfood, Latvia's largest producer of potato chips, said it would spend some 7.2 million euros rebuilding its plant destroyed by fire. Under the design of the new plant, two new buildings will be built to replace the old plant - a new production plant and a storage facility. Construction should begin in the next few months. In the words of Chairman Atis Zarins, "We still have optimistic hopes to start working at the new plant next fall. It would be great if we could process the next potato harvest at our own plant." The plant in Adazi was seriously damaged by a fire in March this year. At the time Latfood, which is owned by Finland's Chips Apb, said production would be suspended until the plant is rebuilt.

Estonia' Economy Minister Edgar Savisaar was reportedly prepared to make a formal proposal to the government not to sell the state's 34 percent shareholding in Estonian Air. Savisaar said that although the state was unable to influence the company's policies through its minority shareholding, keeping the shares was financially beneficial for the government. SAS, which owns 49 percent of the airliner, has expressed interest in increasing its stake. No definite offer has been made.

A Vilnius court banned Anyksciu Vynas (Anyksciai Wine) from selling its new Lituanica vodka, marketed as "original," and ordered the product removed from shops. The case was initiated by Stumbras, a rival distiller, which has accused Anyksciai Wine of copying its product, Original Lithuanian Vodka. Stumbras estimates that Original Lithuanian Vodka has a 10 percent market share in the Baltics. It said it has invested about 1.5 million litas (400,000 euros) in this brand. The conflict over Anyksciu Vynas' new product has erupted into an advertising war, in which different laboratories have measured the level of methanol in alcoholic drinks. The ads are being studied by the Competition Council.

The Finnish pharmaceuticals group Tamro acquired the Lithuania-based Ramuciu Vaistine drugstore chain. The company said the Lithuanian competition authority endorsed the deal today. The Ramuciu Vaistine chain comprises 18 drugstores in the Kaunas region. Tamro reportedly has a 21 percent share of the Lithuanian pharmaceuticals market.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is organizing a 60 million euro loan for Latvia's Rietumu Banka, a third of which the EBRD will provide itself. The loan is designated for medium-term funding for Rietumu's corporate customers. After this inaugural deal on the commercial debt market, the bank is expected to be in a stronger position to attract additional funding with longer maturities in the future, the EBRD said. The EBRD's board will decide on the loan on Nov. 1.