Off the wire

  • 2000-10-05
TAKES BACK CLAIMS: On Sept. 26 there were reports stating that the Russian oil company Yukos intended to bring a lawsuit against the Latvian government over an unpaid debt of $4.1 million. The Cabinet of Ministers gathered for a meeting, trying to figure out a way to solve the situation, when a press release from Yukos said it never had any thoughts of suing Latvia. "We are surprised over use of our name in this conflict," Yukos spokesman, Andrey Krasnov said. Yukos said its spokesmen, Yuri Shabanov and Vladimir Komogortsev, had acted in their own personal interests.

LARGER BARS: Latvian sweets producer Laima has invested 247,000 lats ($405,000) in the development of chocolate bar production and will start producing bigger chocolate bars. Laima's spokeswoman, Rita Voronkova, said the company has started making 150 g chocolate bars which, in addition, will contain whole hazel nuts and almonds, another novelty for Laima. Previously Laima never made chocolate bars weighing more than 100 grams. With larger bars Laima hopes to compete more heavily with foreign producers in the market segment it has not covered earlier.

NEW TERMINAL IN VENTSPILS: Formal opening of Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals container terminal will take place Oct. 6. Total investment in construction of the terminal will reach some $70 million. After its completion, the terminal will handle 250,000 containers and 1.5 million tons of general cargo annually. If the container transportation market develops as forecast, some 70 to 80 percent of the above figures could be reached within five or six years.

$70 MILLION CLAIM AGAINST ESTONIA: An international court of arbitration on Oct. 8 will hear a suit that former owners of the defunct Estonian bank Innovatsioonipank, Alex Genin and Eastern Credit Ltd., and AS Baltoil filed against the state of Estonia, claiming 1.23 million kroons ($70 million). The government has authorized the Bank of Estonia to represent the state in the suit, the central bank's public relations department reports.

WANTS RID OF GUTTA: Estonia's AS Oesel Food, which launched experimental fruit juice production Sept. 25, has set its aim at becoming the market leader in two years and crowding out Latvia's Gutta from the Estonian market, Oesel Food board member Kuldar Leis said. No strong trademarks have emerged on the Estonian market, Leis told the daily Aripaev. We also presume the consumption of fruit juices will increase. If five years ago the average consumption per resident was 12 liters a year, then this year the figure will rise to 18 liters.

TICKET PRICES UP: Silja Line will raise its ticket prices on the Tallinn-Helsinki route because of more expensive motor fuel. Silja Line will add a 50-kroon ($2.83) fuel fee to the price of a one-way ticket on the SuperSeaCat fast boat and 40 kroons to tickets on the Finnjet car ferry. In June, Silja Line added 25 kroons to ticket prices for fuel costs. It is no longer possible to manage with the former ticket prices at the present fuel prices, Silja Line's Estonia managing director, Meelis Laido, told the daily Postimees.

TRUCKERS PROTEST PRICES: Lithuanian truck drivers protesting against high petrol prices tried to cause traffic jams on Vilnius streets Sept. 28, but no major traffic disturbances were reported. Several dozen trucks moved slowly in two columns on the busiest streets of the Lithuanian capital. The protesters drove on the first traffic lane and did not hinder the movement of other vehicles. The protesters' main demand was that the government should scrap a 15 percent tariff on oil products that are not certified by the European Union.

BOND ISSUED FOR $3 MILLION: Lithuania's monopoly fixed-line telephone operator Lietuvos Telekomas launched a 10-year private bond issue worth 12 million litas ($3 million) Oct. 1. Telekomas' first-ever bond issue was registered with the Lithuanian Securities Commission last week. Telekomas is issuing 12,000 bonds with a nominal value of 1,000 litas per bond. It is planned that 10 to 20 Lithuanian investors, mostly financial institutions, will purchase the issue, carrying an annual interest rate of 12 percent.

BORROWS FOR HEALTH: The Lithuanian government is set to take a loan from the German bank Nord/LB to purchase medical equipment worth 40 million litas ($10 million) for the country's healthcare institutions. In mid-September, the Welfare Ministry signed a contract to buy 192 pieces of X-ray machines worth 39.96 million litas in total from the local medical equipment supplier Limeta, named winner in an international tender, Laurynas Bucalis, a spokesman for the ministry, said.