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THINGAMABOB LOANS: Mortgage bank Latvijas Hipoteku un Zemes Banka and non-governmental organization Intellectual Property and Innovation Academy on Aug. 11 signed a pact to provide credit resources for inventors. The IPIA was established on Feb. 15. Its goals include stimulating the intellectual potential of Latvia's economy using innovation projects for the country's development. On Aug. 11, Juris Zakis, IPIA president, said the bank does assume risk while lending to innovative projects, but the risk is no bigger than the banks face in other projects. To date the projects most often financed are in industries like pharmacy, electronics, small energy and transport. Agreements are underway with two additional commercial banks.
SEB EXPANDS GRIP: The Polish Kredyt Bank announced on Aug. 9 it had sold its 19.79 percent stake in Bank Ochrony Srodowiska to the Swedish Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. SEB said it was seeking the Polish central bank's permission to acquire a 33 percent holding in BOS. In terms of total assets, BOS is the 16th largest bank in Poland. SEB has said it regards the Baltic region as its home market. SEB holds strategic stakes in the Estonian Uhispank, Latvia's Unibanka and Vilniaus Bankas in Lithuania.
FARMERS GET PACT: Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar and farmers' representatives signed an agreement on next year's subsidies on Aug. 8. Under the agreement, preferential credits and subsidies to farmers, including subsidies cofinanced by the state, are to be not less than 639 million kroons ($36.94 million). Padar will specify the kinds and size of subsidies to be paid in 2001, as well as the rules governing their allocation, in quarterly meetings with farmers. The parties will work out an additional agreement after confirmation of the next year's state budget. This year's state budget appropriated 478.8 million kroons as subsidies to farmers.
FLY ME: The Lithuanian national air carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos said it flew a record number of passengers in the May-July period this year. The carrier set new daily and monthly records for 10 years of operation, LAL director general Kestutis Auryla said. He attributed the results to a recovery in the Lithuanian economy and intensive development of links with foreign countries. In the three-month period, LAL carried 68,660 passengers on regular flights, including 23,100 in May (up 48 percent on the same time last year), 23,500 in June (up 30 percent), and 22,060 in July (up 29 percent).
NEW BALTIC OIL TERMINAL: Russia plans to build with a Belgian firm a new liquid gas terminal in the northwestern Leningrad region, a Russian news agency reported. Belgium's Tractebel will take part in the construction of the new terminal in Yermilovskoye Bay in the Gulf of Finland. The decision was made on Aug. 8 in a meeting between Grigory Dvas, chairman of the regional economics and investment committee, and Tractebel representatives. The $50 million project provides for the establishment of a liquid gas base within a specialized terminal for reloading gas from rail transportation to ships. The future terminal is planned to handle up to 1 million tons of liquid gas and a like amount of liquid ammonia a year.
SAFE WATER: The Environment Ministry has finished the work and financing schedule for the next two years of a water protection project involving 17 Estonian towns. Most of the construction work under the 613 million kroon ($35.15 million) project is to be carried out in 2001 and 2002, the Environment Ministry said. Municipal governments and water utilities must finance 10 percent to 15 percent of the cost of the project. The exact figure for water supply and sewage facilities will depend on the size of a concrete town's project, he explained. The biggest projects are Viljandi's at a cost of 195 million kroons, Maardu's at 63 million, Jogeva's at 50 million, Kivioli's at 41 million, Polva's at 33 million, and Poltsamaa's at 31 million kroons.