Summed up

  • 1999-01-07
STOCK EXCHANGE BOSS CALLS 1998 GOOD YEAR: For Latvia, 1998 was a positive year of cleaning house and overcoming adversity, according to Riga Stock Exchange President Uldis Cerps. "There have been many positive trends during this year," Cerps said. "Not many would have thought that three major foreign investors would invest in the Latvian market." Cerps also said big issuers like Hansabank, Ventspils Nafta and others are now quoted on the stock exchange. "There are good products to offer to investors and there are preconditions for all these shares to be liquid," said Cerps. He said the Baltic stock exchanges have concluded that foreign investors are perceiving the Baltic states as a united market and the Baltic bourses have to cooperate closely to increase the inflow of investment.

CANADA TO DESIGN IGNALINA STORAGE FACILITY: The Lithuanian government backed a proposal by the Economics Ministry to build a storage facility for used fuel at the nuclear power plant in Ignalina. The facility would be designed by Atomic Energy of Canada. The Ignalina plant will soon sign a contract with AEC on the construction of a storage facility with Macstor-type modules. The contract, worth $20 million, has been finalized and initialized. Viktoras Sevaldinas, the plant's director general, said the construction of the storage site would take some four years. Between January and February, the plant will launch a new storage site designed by the German GNB company. It has enough storage space for some five to six years. The two storage facilities will have 60 containers each.

ESTONIAN DAIRIES TO RAISE PRICES IN JANUARY: The major Estonian milk producers will raise their prices in 1999. Ene Nobel, public relations director at Uhinenud Meiereid dairy, told BNS Dec. 30 that the company would probably raise the purchase price of milk by the end of January. Nobel said that milk producers want the purchase price of milk to be raised to 2 kroons ($0.15) per kilo as contracts are renewed. "I don't believe the price will go up to 2 kroons," Nobel said. In December, United Dairies raised the purchase price of top grade milk by 0.10 kroons to 1.35 kroons per kilo. Also Ravala Piim Deputy Director Rein Kippar said his company is planning to raise the purchase price of milk early in 1999. Kippar said the possible price rise would be decided in January when the terms of purchase contracts come to be discussed with the producers. "Producers would like to get two kroons, but we can hardly promise this," Kippar said.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NAMES THE BEST: The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry named Latvia's power utility Latvenergo, the oil transit company Ventspils Nafta and Lithuania's phone company Lietuvas Telekomas the best enterprises in the Baltics in 1998. The chamber rated the enterprises according to four basic criteria: the enterprise's profit, equity, yearly turnover and number of employees. The chamber also chose the best industrial, trade and transport enterprises. The best industrial enterprises were Lithuania's oil refinery Mazeiku Nafta and Latvia's wood-processing company Latvijas Finieris. The best among transport companies were Estonia's Pak Terminal and Latvia's Latvijas Dzelzcels. The Gutta juice producer was awarded a prize for its success at the international exhibition "Expo Latvia", which took place in Oslo in December.

ZILE CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: Roberts Zile, Latvia's special tasks minister for relations with international financial institutions, said Latvia should improve cooperation with international finance bodies in 1999. "We should set up a completely clear mechanism determining at what political and administrative levels decisions are made concerning all international assistance to Latvia," said Zile.

TALLINN GETS JUICY BOND OFFERS: The City of Tallinn received preliminary offers last week from six international financial institutions for the organization of a 280 million kroon ($21.2 million) bond issue next year. Deputy Mayor Ants Leemets said that all the offers are worth considering. "Naturally, the terms are no longer as advantageous as they were in previous years but advantageous nevertheless," Leemets told BNS Dec. 31. The Tallinn city government will give more precise information on the loan offers at the beginning of 1999.

CZECH LOAN TO GO FOR NEW BUSES, TROLLEYS: The Lithuanian government issued state guarantees for the Czech Cekoslovenska Obchodni Banka, which will lend $8.18 million to the bank of agriculture Lietuvos Zemes Ukio Bankas. Then, Lietuvos Zemes will relend the money to the Vilnius municipality for purchases of $4.33 million worth of Karosa buses and $3.8 million worth of Skoda trolley buses. The municipality plans to buy 38 Karosa buses and 25 Skoda trolley buses. Some 32.7 million litas ($8.2 million) in foreign loans and 6.4 million litas in municipal funds have been earmarked for the project in a state investment program for 1998-2000.