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ä ASA Kindlustus insurance company ended the first half of the year with a loss of 7.2 million kroons ($496,500). Income from investments helped to reduce the loss slightly, since technically the negative profit was 7.4 million kroons. The company collected 64 million kroons in gross premiums and paid out 28.6 million kroons in claims. Administrative expenses in January through June totaled 9 million kroons. ASA Kindlustus's share of the Estonian damage insurance market at the end of the first half-year was 12.2 percent.
ä Losses of the Leks Kindlustus (Leks Insurance) concern grew in April through June by 16.5 million kroons, bringing the total for the January-June period to 27 million kroons. The group's assets stood at 202.2 million kroons at the end of June, up by 62.5 percent from the same time last year. The insurance group, which is doing business in all the three Baltic republics, collected a total of 86.6 million kroons in the six months. Leks' technical loss in the first half-year amounted to 16.9 million kroons. The group's net unprofitability was 72 percent. The firm predicts it will make a technical profit in the second quarter of 1998. PR manager Rivo Saarna said Leks has this year revised several insurance tariffs and paid a lot of attention to cutting administrative costs. He said the insurance company's Baltic strategy is grounded on a long-range and purposeful market enlargement policy, which lays the foundation for future growth of efficiency. According to Leks's development plan, its share of the Estonian damage insurance market will be up to 20 percent by the end of this year and 25 percent by the year 2001. The lion's share of Leks Group's loss from investment derives from the revaluation of its securities portfolio due to the substantial decline on the region's securities markets, according to the company. Leks Group made in the first half of the year a loss of 10.3 million kroons from investment, including 9 million kroons from financial investments.
ä The unconsolidated net profit of the Rakvere Lihakombinaat meatpacker in January through July was 3.3 million kroons on a net sales turnover of 454.8 million kroons. Compared to the same seven months last year, the turnover was up by 28 percent or 99.8 million kroons, officials at the company said. The meatpacker ended July with a net profit of 4.9 million kroons, but posted a consolidated loss of 23.41 million kroons for the first half of the year, which was mostly due to the expense of restructuring the Latvian meatpacker Rigas Miesnieks. Net sales turnover last month was 70.2 million kroons. The 16 percent increase in turnover against the same month a year ago came for the most part from growing exports. The company exported 20 million kroons' worth of output in July, which accounted for 28.5 percent of the monthly net turnover. Most exports went to Ukraine and Latvia.
ä Uhispank plans to stagger a 350 million kroon loss arising from the difference between Tallinna Pank's purchase price and book value over a period of 10 years. The difference between purchase price and book value may generally be written off in five years, but this may also be spread out over 20 years, Uhispank Vice President Ulo Suurkask said. "The question is, how we shall show the result to owners," he said. "If Uhispank manages to earn 70 million kroons a year from the unification with Tallinna Pank, it will make in ten years a sum equal to that to be written off." According to Suurkask, Tallinna Pank's actual value was 348 million kroons smaller than the purchase price. The biggest difference at 100 million kroons came from the evaluation of Tallinna Pank's Latvian subsidiary, the Saules Bank, Suurkask said. He said Uhispank may face the need to expand its equity in the fall, as in computing capital adequacy the 350 million kroons to be written off will have to be subtracted from equity. "We probably won't be able to invest in Saules Bank because of this," Suurkask stated. Uhispank's assets totaled 14.8 billion kroons and equity stood at 1.4 billion kroons at the end of July. The bank has written off as merger expenses all of the profit it has earned this year, 81 million kroons.
ä The Kaija fish cannery earned a profit of 6,397 lats ($10,235) after tax in the seven months of 1998 on a net turnover of 9,723,876 lats, the company said in its report to the Riga Stock Exchange (RSE.) The company's profit before the extraordinary positions and taxes was 291,036 lats. Kaija reported that its management has resolved to cease operation in Russia temporarily as the financial situation there causes concerns over settlement of accounts and export safety. The report said the company's experts were presently working to step up development of the local market taking into consideration the situation in cooperation with Russia's wholesale traders. This work has lead to a significant increase in fish product sales in the Baltic region which amounted to 2,994,451 lats in the first seven months of 1998 or 53 percent more than in the respective period in 1997. Kaija's profit in the first six months of the year was 1,021 lats and its profit in 1997 was 730,980 lats.
ä The present crisis in Russia may affect the forecast profit of Olainfarm pharmaceuticals company, said spokesman Egils Grikis. "As a result of the crisis the issue may be that of curtailment of the planned profit but the factory will incur no direct losses," he said. The profit target may also have to be reviewed because of a Latvian government decision on taxes for exported medicines and a customs tax hike in Russia. Grikis noted that the company resumed production on Sept. 1 after a reconstruction shutdown of about six weeks. Olainfarm is working to insure itself against similar crises and pay more attention to the Baltic and Western markets, Grikis said.
ä Rigas Kugu Buvetava (Riga Shipyard) plans to turn over about 15 million lats this year, its head Vasilijs Melniks said on Sept 4. The company has already turned over nearly 10 million lats. Melniks, however, declined to predict the year's profit figure. So far this year the company has repaired 92 ships and plans to increase the number to 126 by the end of this year, which is more than in 1997 when 111 ships were repaired. In the first half of this year Riga Shipyard netted 143,743 lats on a net turnover of 6,116,773 lats. The company had a share capital of 10 million lats and an equity capital of 11,170,028 lats on June 30.
ä Latvijas Unibanka's assets increased in August regardless of adverse developments in the Russian financial sector. Vice President Ivars Kirsons said the bank is presently summing up indicators of the past month and they "look hopeful." Assets went up by between 12-13 percent in August, Kirsons said. He noted that the situation was similar to 1995 when Unibanka was chosen by clients as a safety bank in conditions of banking turmoil. The crisis has only had a negative effect on the profit forecast for this year, which was revised and brought down from 8.5 million lats to 4.7 million lats. Unibanka's shares are quoted on the official list of the RSE and on the stock exchanges of London and Berlin. It is the second largest bank in Latvia.
Valmieras Stikla Skiedra (Valmiera Fiberglass) company sold products worth 8.7 million lats during the eight months of 1998 which is 80.6 percent of the amount planned for the entire year, the company said in a report to the RSE. Valmiera Fiberglass has set its profit target for 1998 at 850,000 lats and the turnover target at 10.8 million lats. The company's profit in the first six months of the year was 588,000 lats on a turnover of 6.3 million lats.
ä The Ventspils Nafta oil company plans to pay three santims per share in dividends from last year's profit. From the total profit of 23.6 million lats, the company will pay 3.1 million lats in dividends. The remaining profit of 20.5 million lats will be directed into a reserve and used in accordance with the company's budget plan and investment programs for development. The payment of dividends will begin on Oct. 1. The decision on the payment of dividends will have to be confirmed by shareholders on Sept. 9. The shareholders will also have to confirm a report drawn up in accordance with Latvian accounting standards and another report meeting international standards of accounting. The management will propose Arthur Andersen as the auditor of Ventspils Nafta's annual report for 1998. Ventspils Nafta took in 33 percent less revenues in the first half of this year than in the same period of 1997. In the first six months of this year the company posted revenues of 24.3 million lats, said spokeswoman Gundega Varpa.
ä Lithuania's sole cement manufacturer - Akmenes Cementas (Akmene Cement) is foreseeing record profits and volume of sales. Akmenes Cementas director general Pranas Kristopaitis told BNS that in August alone his firm marketed 110,000 tonnes of cement. Such a volume of sales over a single month had not been posted by the cement company since 1994. According to Kristopaitis, Akmenes Cementas is reckoned to chalkup five million litas in profits for the first eight months, which would be 2.3 times more than the total profits for the whole of 1997. The enterprise's chief attributes the windfall profits first and foremost to Akmenes Cementas' activity on the domestic market. The company turns over a good half of its production in Lithuania itself. Akmenes Cementas products are also shipped out to Sweden, Finland, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, Latvia, Belarus and the Kaliningrad Region.
ä The results of the financial activities of Lithuania's Bankas Snoras for the month of August were profits of 4.1 million litas ($1 million). This sum virtually annuls losses experienced since the beginning of the year, the bank's public relations service reports. According to unaudited data, Bankas Snoras experienced losses amounting to 4.1 million litas over the first half of this year.Over the entire year of 1997, the bank posted net audited profits of 1.088 million litas. The bank expects to earn 4.3 million litas by the end of 1998.