AVE LAT GRUPA TO CHANGE OWNERS: Latvian Prime Minister Andris Skele will sign documents transferring his Ave Lat Grupa food concern into the legal possession of other persons. The event is planned for the second week of August and will "halt the existence of this conflict," Skele said. The prime minister has turned to an international auditing firm for advice on finding the best solution for this property right issue. The possession of Ave Lat Grupa could be shared between a legal entity or a lawyer, an economist or a financier, and a competent business person who could supervise the Latvian market. According to the companies' register and SIA Lursoft, Ave Lat has a paid up share capital of 15 million lats ($25.42 million)
GOOD MONTH FOR LITHUANIAN BEER MAKERS: The Lithuanian beer market grew 5 percent in July compared with June. The ten largest Lithuanian breweries sold 22.2 million liters of beer. In June 21.7 million liters were sold. In the first seven months of this year the breweries sold 104.1 million liters of beer, or 18.2 percent more than during the same period last year, the Lithuanian Beer Makers Association reported. The leader of the Lithuanian beer market remains Utena Beer, with 28.1 percent share of the domestic market. It is followed by Kalnapis with 21.7 percent and Svyturys with 21.4 percent, who exchanged positions in July.
DAUGAVPILS MOTORCHAIN PLANT PRIVATIZED: The Latvian Privatization Agency board has announced that the privatization of Daugavpils Motorchain Plant is complete. The plant's shares have been quoted on the Riga Stock Exchange since 1996. Initially the company's stock was included on the official list but was transferred to the free list at the beginning of this year. The company's fixed capital is 7 million lats ($11.86 million). All of the company's shares are in public turnover.
HANSAPANK INSURANCE SELLS LATVIAN SUBSIDIARY: Hansapank Insurance Co. is holding talks on the sale of its Latvian subsidiary Hansa Apdrosinasana, Chairman of the Board Priit Potisepp reported. He said the main reason for the sale was the need to bring reserves into accordance with the new Estonian insurance law which came into effect on June 1. The potential buyer is not a company of the Hansapank group, Hansapank Finance Director Erkki Raasuke says. The name or nationality of the buyer could be announced on Aug. 24, by which time the sale-purchase agreement is likely to have been reached.
ALCOHOL AND CIGARETTE PRICES UP IN LATVIA: The increase in excise taxes for alcohol and tobacco products increases the price of a liter of vodka by about 20 santims ($0.34), the Finance Ministry reported. The price per pack of cigarettes is expected to rise by 1.4 santims. Excise taxes were increased from 460 lats to 500 lats per 100 liters of pure spirit, from 5.5 lats to 6.1 lats per 1000 filter cigarettes, and from 4.5 lats to 5.1 lats per 1000 of non-filter cigarettes. The move was undertaken to reduce the severe budget deficit. Representatives of alcoholic beverage producers believe that excise tax increase on hard liquor will bring down the total turnover of these beverages in Latvia thereby reducing the tax revenues in state budget.
A LOAN TO COVER ALL LOANS: Lithuanian Telecom is to sign a contract with six foreign banks for a 500 million litas ($125 million) long-term loan - the largest loan ever provided by foreign banks to a private Lithuanian company. According to Audrius Valatkevicius, the company's press representative, the loan is allocated for financing investment and covering loans taken earlier. One of the investment projects is the purchase of telecommunications network switch-box equipment, worth almost 5 million litas, from the Finnish Teletekno company. The switching equipment is necessary for the company to expand its services in Lithuania. The loan contract is to be signed on August 10 with Dresdner Bank, Leonia Corporate Bank, Nordic Investment Bank, Vereinsbank, Merita Bank and Swedbank.