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The World Trade Organization wrapped up its ministerial meeting without deciding how to revive global commerce talks, focusing instead on welcoming Russia to the fold and securing a government-procurement accord, reports Bloomberg. Efforts to reach an agreement during the Doha Round of trade talks have been blocked for years as the countries fail to make concessions on lowering agriculture subsidies and industrial tariffs. The highlights of the three-day ministerial meeting that began in Geneva on Dec. 15 were the accessions of Russia, Samoa and Montenegro and a 42- nation agreement that opens up government-procurement contracts valued at as much as $100 billion to more foreign competition.
The Finnish energy concern Fortum announced that it sold its small boiler houses in Finland and Estonia to investment company EQT infrastructure fund for 200 million euros, reports Postimees Online. The sale of Fortum’s subsidiaries Fortum Energiaratkaisut (Finland) and Fortum Termest (Estonia) will be completed in the first quarter of next year. Fortum did not sell the two heating and electricity plants that work on renewable energy in Estonia. Fortum has a partial ownership of one in Tartu and fully owns one in Parnu. In 2010, Fortum Energiaratkaisut and Fortum Termest had a turnover of 150 million euros and they produced 3.4 TWh of energy. Fortum Termest has 77 employees.
Poland’s largest refiner, PKN Orlen, has suspended plans to sell its 200,000 b/d Lithuanian refinery, Orlen Lietuva, due to adverse business conditions, Mikolaj Budzanowski, the Polish treasury minister, said on Dec. 14, reports platts.com. “The project for PKN Orlen to exit from Mazeikiu is suspended. It may come back in the future but that will depend on the market conditions,” Budzanowski said. “The decision to sell Mazeikiu belongs to PKN Orlen’s shareholders,” Budzanowski added. The treasury is PKN’s single largest shareholder with a 27.5 percent stake. The company has variously said it is open to bids for all of the plant, which has been mostly loss-making since PKN bought it in 2006, or just a stake in it.