ALDARIS DISCOVERS ICE BEER: Aldaris brewery has launched production of new brand of beer, Ice Beer, which is different from the beer the company has been producing. Aldaris staff member Elina Jankovska said the new beer is bottled in 0.33 liter bottles which are closed with a special stoppers and are easy to open. The beer has 4.5 percent alcohol content.
LATVENERGO BEEFS UP POWER GRID: The state-owned joint-stock company Latvenergo invested 71 million lats (120.3 million) in renovation and modernization of its power grid in 1999, or 16 million lats more than in 1998. Thanks to the investment, energy loss decreased 13 percent compared to 1998. Latvenergo's development plan says that 963 million lats will be invested in the development of the company over the next 10 years.
OIL GETS BIGGER SLICE: Lithuania's oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta is boosting its share of the local market because of changes in its sales strategy. In 2000 the concern concluded one-year contracts on the sale of petroleum products to the largest fuel retail companies, including Statoil Lietuva, Uotas, Lukoil Baltija, Ventus Nafta, Lukoil Baltija Servisas, Lietuvos Kuras, Hydro Texaco and Neste Lietuva. The company has increased its sales since mid-1999 owing to a more flexible price policy, a press release said.
PRIVATIZATION RAISES $5 MILLION: The Lithuanian state property fund and municipalities raised 19.24 million litas ($4.81 million) from privatization in February. The January-February privatization proceeds totaled 25.35 million litas. In February, the fund ran 51 public auctions, sold state-owned stakes in three companies, worth 226,000 litas in total, through the stock exchange, and held one public tender.
SPANISH FIRM PICKS KNITS: The Spanish company Kettering S.A. has taken a stake in Vilija, one of the largest Lithuanian knitwear producers, acquiring 12.5 percent of the Vilnius-based company's registered share capital on Feb. 28. Vilija has already cooperated with Kettering for several years already. Last year, as much as 95 percent of Vilija's production was made for the Spanish company. The rest was sold on the Lithuanian market. The Lithuanian state property fund is Vilija's largest shareholder with a stake of 25.2 percent.
LATVIA LONG-TERM LOANS COST MORE: Last December Latvia had the highest average weighted annual rate on long-term loans issued in national currency among the Baltic states. The Central Statistics Office said BNS March 3 that in December 1999 the average weighted annual rate on long-term loans in national currency was 12.6 percent in Latvia or by 2.5 and 4 percentage points more than in Lithuania and Estonia respectively. Last December this rate was 10.1 percent in Lithuania and 8.6 percent in Estonia. For short-term loans in national currency the rate was the highest in Lithuania, 16.9 percent, while Latvia had the rate of 12.5 percent and Estonia 8.7 percent in December 1999.
SOAPMAKER LEADS ADVERTIZERS: Procter&Gamble was Latvia's major advertiser in 1999, according to information from BMF Gallup Media. Unilever ranked second followed by Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Ave Lat grupa, and Benckiser. The sixth biggest advertiser in Latvia was Varner Baltija, followed by the companies Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, Baltcom and Latvijas Neatkariga televizija.
FINNS LEAVE BEER LIMIT UNDISTURBED: Finland may pass the opportunity offered by the European Commission to cut the maximum amount of beer individual travellers can import from Estonia and Russia. Finland sought in talks with the Commission to cut the limit to six liters from the present 15 liters because it was afraid that it must change the rule which bans import of alcohol by travelers who spend less than 20 hours outside the country, STT news agency quoted governmental adviser Jarl Hagelstam as saying on Finland's YLE 1 television. But since the ban on alcohol import by people making short trips continues, Finland may not cut the maximum amount of beer allowed to be brought in from Estonia and Russia. Under a compromise reached with the EC, Finland is allowed to limit the amount of beer individual travelers may bring with them from the two non-EU neighbors, provided that it raises the beer import limit for people coming from other EU states.