FERRY TO STAY AFLOAT: Latvian press reports about the possible arrest of the Mikhail Sholokhov ferry are intentional misinformation, said Riga Passenger Port president Zigmars Priede. He said that only the court had the power to impose an attachment over the vessel and such a court resolution was not likely. The Bizness and Baltija newspaper quoted May 26, that the creditors' committee of the insolvent Ferry Service company, which acted as the shipping agent for the failed ferry Rusj that ran between Riga and Stockholm, wanted to arrest the Mikhail Sholokhov. The creditors thus hope to recover the debts from Russia's Far East Shipping Company which owns both ferries.
DIPLOMACY: Icelandic Premier David Oddsson hopes his visit to Latvia will boost strengthening relations and economic cooperation between both countries. Oddsson told journalists that bigger investments in Latvia could be expected as it has a clear tax legislation and an honest attitude towards entrepreneurs.
FUTURE BUSINESS: Latvia has prospects to develop into a business center in the future, said Stock Market Commission deputy chairman Talis Laizans. He made the conclusion following the annual general meeting of the EBRD in Riga. He said talks with people from financial circles affirmed the idea that Latvia could develop a business platform promoting business relations between the East and the West.
POSSIBLE DRUG MONOPOLY: The Estonian Pharmacists Union has protested a decision of the Tallinn City Council to put three of the capital's pharmacies up for sale in a package deal. The union claims the move will lead to a monopoly in the medical drugs retail market. The city council paid no heed to the pharmacists' proposal to give the employees of the pharmacies a chance to take part in privatization, said the union.
ESTONIA WANTS MORE CASH: To increase state revenue and make the capital of state-owned companies work more efficiently, the Finance Ministry wants to raise government firms' dividend rates above the 15 percent set earlier by the government. The Finance Ministry reviewed the capital structures of government firms and found that many companies could finance their investments in a more efficient way, said Daniel Vaarik, spokesman for the ministry.
AMERICAN OIL UPSET: Williams International President John Bumgarner voiced his disappointment May 26 at recent statements by Rolandas Paksas, former prime minister, that the U.S. company's business plan for Mazeikiu Nafta had collapsed. As a major shareholder of Mazeikiu Nafta, Williams International is deeply upset about attacks by Paksas against Mazeikiu Nafta and against the company's hard working employees, said Bumgarner. It is a pity the work by 3,000 employees has become a target for short- lived political ambitions, he said.
PROTECTION FOR LOCALS: The Lithuanian Parliament passed two more laws to protect domestic producers from government- subsidized foreign imports. The new laws are interim measures until Lithuania's entry into the EU. According to EU laws, matters related to anti-dumping, protective, compensatory and other measures fall under the competence of the bloc's central bodies. The implementation of the new domestic market protection laws will be supervised by the country's government and the Competition Council.
HEATER REPLACEMENT: In Kaunas, Lithuania, the French company Dalkia is ready to begin talks on a 15 year contract to operate the heating sector in Kaunas. The Swedish company Vattenfall has withdrawn from the project in Lithuania's second largest city. Kaunas Mayor Vytautas Sustauskas received a letter from Marco Boudier, Dalkia's president for Central and Eastern Europe, in which he confirmed Dalkia's interest in the project.