Off the wire

  • 2000-09-07
GOING ONLINE: Estonian company register will begin the transition to fully electronic operations in 2001, when companies will be able to submit their annual reports online. The transition enables the register to join a Europe-wide system of Internet-based business register information. While the register's primary tasks have been to process entry applications, carry out labor-intensive reregistration, and capital expansion and compulsory liquidation transactions, from now on it will be able to pay more attention to other tasks, such as setting up a database of business bans, harmonizing registration and bankruptcy proceedings, and laying the groundwork for computerized register-keeping.

SWEET TAKEOVER: Latvian sweets producer Staburadze has bought an affiliated company, Noi Baltija, for 523,100 lats ($857,500), the value of the company's registered capital. Staburadze's council chairman Gisli Reynisson said that through the acquisition, Staburadze had gained access to Noi Baltija products and experience at an advantageous price, eliminating a potential competitor and reducing administrative costs at the same time. Noi Baltija is part of the Nordic Industries Ltd. group, which is part-owned by Nordic Food, the controlling shareholder of Staburadze.

GROWING FAST: According to the Statistics Department's provisional estimates, Estonia's economic growth in the second quarter of 2000 was 7.5 percent compared to the same period in 1999. This is better than the forecast 4.5 percent and also shows the acceleration on 5.2 percent growth in the first quarter of this year. The quarter was successful for the Estonian economy, which has been rising since the fourth quarter of 1999. The department will release finalized second-quarter GDP indicators Oct. 27.

IMF NOTES PROGRESS: An IMF mission visiting Vilnius to assess Lithuania's progress in fulfilling the terms of an economic policy memorandum signed in March this year has noted Lithuania's progress in reaching its economic policy goals. An Aug. 31 meeting between Economy Minister Valentinas Milaknis and the IMF mission centered on the government's investment program and economic policies, as well as privatization issues and the modernization of Mazeikiu Nafta, the country's sole oil refinery. In the memorandum the government pledged to reduce the fiscal deficit to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2000. The government will ask IMF to agree to a higher fiscal deficit ceiling, at 3.5 percent of GDP, during the talks.

APPLYING FOR FUNDS: Latvia has sent the first eight projects that apply for financing under EU's PHARE program in 2001 to the European Commission. The projects submitted are: market supervision in the non-food sector; development of customs and the Sanitary Border Inspectorate infrastructure in ports and on the railway; implementation of tax reform and modernization program for Central and Eastern European countries; introduction and strengthening of common agriculture policy; distribution of information about EU among the public as well as development of a common migration information system; improvement of employment policy development and introduction mechanism; and public administration reforms. The EC will review the projects and make preliminary comments which will be taken into account when improving the respective projects. Latvia is expected to receive 30 million euros from the PHARE program for 2001.

U.S. STOCKS ON OFFER: Trigon Securities started brokering shares traded on U.S. stock exchanges in cooperation with the U.S. banking group Bear Sterns on Sept. 1. According to Trigon broker Kristel Kivinurm, Estonian investors are looking farther ahead to spread risks and are no longer satisfied with the quantity of local securities on offer. Orders for the U.S. stock will be fulfilled immediately through the intermediary, and Trigon Securities will itself be able to pub up quotation through its partner. There will be no set minimum quantities. Trigon Securities has already started brokering Scandinavian and West European securities to its clients.

SUPPLY DEAL CLOSED: Kazakh oil producers plan to begin crude oil exports to Lithuania under a three-year supply contract between the Kazakh oil company Karazhanbasmunai and the Lithuanian oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta in the near future. Under the terms of the deal signed in July, deliveries of crude oil are expected to begin in September and should start at 70,000 tons per month. Future supplies are expected to reach 100,000-120,000 tons per month. Kazakhstan was able to increase oil exports after Russia has raised the oil transit quotas for the central Asian country from 5-6 million tons per year to 13 million tons.