BANKS GRADED: The international rating agency Fitch on Nov. 1 announced it has assigned Latvian bank Baltijas Tranzitu Banka a BB rating for long-term debts in foreign currency and a B for short-term debts in foreign currency. For BTB's long-term rating the agency has forecast a negative outlook. Fitch also has assigned ratings to Latvian Parex Bank (BB+) for long-term debts denominated in foreign currency with a stable outlook forecast, and a B for short-term debts in foreign currency.
MAY GO TO HELSINKI: The expense connected with merging the Tallinn bourse with Norex, the alliance of the Nordic countries' stock exchanges, makes merging with the Helsinki Stock Exchange more and more likely, the business daily Aripaev reported. Directors of the Tallinn and Helsinki bourses, however, would not confirm any possible concrete cooperation. "As far as I know, there are no talks being held concerning a merger with the Helsinki Stock Exchange," said Gert Tiivas, board chairman of the Tallinn Stock Exchange.
HANDLES THE GOODS: According to preliminary figures, 2.06 million tons of goods passed through the Port of Tallinn in November. In November last year, the port handled nearly 2.4 million tons of goods. The total amount of freight handled in the port was 27.1 million tons in January-November, up 11.9 percent from the same period last year.
DOUBLES THE OFFER: The international company International Water UU and Generale des Eaux are ready to pay nearly 1 billion kroons ($56 million) for 50.4 percent of shares in Estonian water company AS Tallinna Vesi. The initial bidding price was 580 million kroons. Rain Tamm, a partner of International Water UU's adviser LHV, said the bid for shares in Tallinna Vesi is more than 1 billion kroons. Tamm refused to disclose the exact size of the bid, but added that in addition to the price, the International Water UU bid is probably the best also in terms of tariffs.
MAKES A MOVE: The Finnish computer hardware importer and wholesaler GNT-Group will take over the offices of the U.S. wholesaler CHS Electronics in the Baltic countries. The net turnover of the firms, which have operated under the name CHS in the three Baltic countries, was nearly 958 million kroons ($53.8 million) in January-September this year, and they account for a market share of 30-40 percent, the company reported. The takeover will make GNT the biggest computer hardware importer and wholesaler in Finland and the Baltic countries.
BOND REDEEMED: Estonia's compensation fund Huvitusfond will redeem on Dec. 10 its 10th series bonds and pay out 59.5 million kroons ($3.34 million) to owners of the bonds. A representative of Huvitusfond said the fund will pay out the redemption money to owners of the bonds as of Dec. 10 according to information from the securities register. The compensation fund will pay 7.246 kroons of interest per bond, a total of 4.3 million kroons.
STARMAN EXPANDS: The Tallinn-based cable television company Starman Kaabeltelevisiooni AS is going to buy 60 percent of the shares in Comtrade, a new generation telecommunication firm, and invest additionally 6 million kroons ($339,000) in it. Starman hopes to strongly expand its services in the field of data communication by the deal, managing director Peeter Kern said. Kern said Starman's operation in the sphere of data communication is based on a city-wide cable network that allows speedy Internet access.
MORE TUBES: Lithuania's Ekranas, the only TV-tube manufacturer in the Baltic states and CIS, increased its share in the group of small- and medium-size TV-tube manufacturers on the Eastern and Central European market to 12 percent in 2000. Last year Ekranas had about 11 percent of this market, the business daily Verslo Zinios reported. We found and maintain our place among the most powerful world manufacturers of TV-tubes in Europe, Angelija Zokaitiene, head of Ekranas' investment unit, said the daily.
EXPORTING COMPUTERS: Aiva Sistema, a manufacturer of Lithuanian personal computers, is to export its production to Holland, the business daily Verslo Zinios reported. Aiva Sistema and the Dutch company Advanced Power BV, currently establishing a joint company, will export 60,000 personal computers a year. The signed protocol of intentions provides for 1,000 to 5,000 personal computers to be exported from Lithuania to Holland in one month.