New car dealerships in Estonia last year had their poorest performance of the decade and don’t expect sales to improve this year either, reports LETA. Nearly 11,500 new vehicles were sold during the year. Utility vehicles, i.e. vans and trucks, commanded ten percent of total sales. While the sale of passenger cars fell by more than half, utility vehicle sales fell by two-thirds from 2008 levels. “We estimate that the passenger car and utility vehicle market in Estonia will fall by another 20 percent [in 2010],” said KW Bruun Baltic CEO Per Brinkenberg, adding that sales of more luxurious and pricey models will fall the most. Saksa Auto manager Jussi Parnpuu said that car sales this year will depend mainly on how fast the economy recuperates and on the news about joining the eurozone. “The sure thing is that the first quarter will be very sad – just like the two last quarters of 2009,” he said. In the following quarters he looks for some recovery.
Latvia’s Competition Council has determined that a cartel between the retail trade companies Plus Punkts, Narvesen Baltija and Preses apvieniba exists, and has therefore decided to fine these companies 103,000 lats (147,100 euros) in total, says Competition Council public relations officer Inita Kabanova, reports nozare.lv. The companies started, all at the same time, to charge the same commission on mobile phone operator pre-paid cards. The Council says it also has additional evidence proving the existence of the cartel. Individual fines will be imposed at 24,600 lats for Plus Punkts, 40,000 lats for on Narvesen Baltija and 38,500 lats for Preses apvieniba.
Austrian company Greiner Packaging opened a new plant in Tabasalu, near Tallinn, in December in order to strengthen its market position in the Baltic States and Scandinavia, reports LETA. The facility will cover floor space totaling 3,700 square meters. The plant will focus on blow-molding production of large ketchup and mustard bottles for the Norwegian conglomerate Orkla. The 4.4-liter bottles, sold to commercial customers such as restaurants and company cafeterias, will be extrusion blow-molded of high-density polyethylene. The facility took one year to build and to bring on-line. Greiner Packaging, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of rigid plastics packaging products, runs additional Eastern European processing facilities in Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia, as well as in Russia.