Off the wire

  • 2000-09-14

NIB BONDS TO LATVIA: The Latvian Stock Market Commission board will register and approve for circulation bonds issued by the Nordic Investment Bank. The SMC said it would accept 10,000 bonds at par value of 1,000 lats for the total amount of 10 million lats ($16.393 million). NIB is a financial institution established by the Nordic countries to finance projects both in Scandinavia and other regions. In 1999 the bank's profit was 106.4 million euros, and its assets totaled 13.3 billion euros.

AIRLINE DOING WELL: The Lithuanian national air carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos reported a considerable increase in passenger and cargo volumes this year. LAL carried 194,500 passengers in the first eight months of 2000, up 19 percent from 1999. In the May-August period, the company handled a record number of passengers, reaching the highest daily and monthly levels in its 10 years. The company handled 879 tons of cargo in the first seven months of this year, up 6.3 percent. The load factor has also increased to 55.48 percent from 44.9 percent. The state has decided to sell a 49 percent stake in the airline to a strategic investor.

TALLINN TO TAKE LOAN: Although Tallinn municipality's cash inflow has been normal, the city will have to take a liquidity loan of about 280 million kroons ($15.8 million) to cover its capital expenses. The size of the loan will depend on this year's actual deficit, estimated at 280 million kroons, an amount corresponding to the expected minimum price of the city's shares in water utility Tallinna Vesi, and the loan will be repaid when the sale has gone through. Another loan of 86.8 million kroons is under consideration in the City Council. Both loans will probably come from the same foreign parties as a 120 million kroon loan taken earlier this year.

HANSABANKA TO DOUBLE INTERNETBANK USERS: Latvia's Hansabanka intends to double the number of its Internet banking service users to some 20,000 by the end of the year. Seventy percent of those to use the service actively, or three to four times a month. In the next three years Hansabanka plans to increase the number of Internetbanka's users to 70,000. Currently around 5.4 percent of its customers use Internetbanka, but this figure is expected to increase to 12 percent by the end of the year. Hansabanka launched the service on June 1, 1997.

MORE BEER: The Lithuanian beer market grew 12.3 percent over the first eight months of 2000 compared with the same period last year. From July to August this year, the increase was 2 percent, according to data from the Lithuanian Brewers' Association. The relatively cold summer slowed down growth this year, experts say. In the first eight months of 2000, the country's eleven major breweries sold 137.99 million liters of beer, 20.31 million of those in August. Svyturys, majority-owned by Denmark's Carlsberg, as well as Utenos Alus and Kalnapilis, both controlled by the Nordic group Baltic Beverages Holding, remained the key players on the local beer market, with 26.7 percent, 22.8 percent, and 21.6 percent market share, respectively. Svyturys' sales rose by 29.7 percent to 36.87 million liters, Utenos Alus' sales were up by 12.8 percent to 31.46 million liters, and Kalnapilis' sales increased by 16.9 percent to 29.75 million liters in the first eight months of 2000 versus the same period last year.

HOLIDAYS GET PEOPLE OFF-LINE: As of August, 30 percent of Estonian residents aged 15 to 74 were regular Internet users, but the numbers dropped during the summer holidays. Numbers for the last week in June were 19-21 percent, but dropped down to 16 percent in August. People are expected to return to their screens in the beginning of September, as they return from holiday. In August, 39 percent of Estonians used computers, and some 19 percent had access to them at home. These figures are based on an EMOR survey aimed at following development in the sphere of computers, Internet and e-trade. The survey is carried out twice a month, questioning 1,000 Estonians between the age of 15 and 74.

IGNALINA TO BORROW 9 MILLION EUROS: The Lithuanian government has decided to issue a state guarantee backing a loan of 8.983 million euros, which the Ignalina nuclear power plant is seeking to finance a radioactive waste treatment and storage project. German Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale has agreed to provide the loan for a period of five years. Ignalina does not plan to set up the radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities until 2002. The estimated cost of the project is 16.343 million euros, and the remaining 7.36 million euros will come from the plant's own resources.