INVESTING IN UKRAINE TOO RISKY: Estonia's confectionery Kalev will postpone its investment into a Ukrainian confectionery factory in Zaporizhya because the banks that extended a syndicated loan to Kavel assessed the investment as risky. "In the banks' opinion, the economic environment in Ukraine and Russia is too risky for the investment of such amounts of money," said Tiina Altmets, Kalev's spokesperson. Kalev planned to acquire up to 70 percent of the shares in the Zaporizhya plant by investing 30 million kroons ($2.2 million). Altmets said that Kalev's directors will continue working out alternative options to start production in Ukraine together with the Zaporzhya plant.
LITHUANIA MAY PART WITH ITS TELECOM SHARES: The Lithuanian State Assets Fund has made it clear that it might try to sell a state-owned stake of 35 percent in Lietuvos Telekomas this year. "If the telecom's owners, Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera, give their permission, we will announce a tender for privatization of the remaining shares in Lietuvos Telekomas this year," fund Director General Stasys Vaitkevicius said. "Under the privatization agreement, the remaining state-owned shares may be sold only next year."
LATVIA TRIES TO CUT LATTLEKOM MONOPOLY: Latvian officials and representatives from Tilts Communications have discussed the possibility of terminating the framework agreement between the Latvian state and the telephone company Lattelekom. Latvian Privatization Agency Director Janis Naglis pointed out that termination of the agreement was only discussed as a possibility. During negotiations March 17, Latvia said that it would not be able to pay this year the compensations Tilts Communications demanded for early termination of Lattelekom's monopoly. Latvia is trying to cut Lattelekom's monopoly by ten years to meet World Trade Organization demands. According to the current agreement, Lattelekom's monopoly should end in 2013. Naglis could not predict when talks would end because there was still much to be discussed.
BIDDERS EAGER TO BUY ESTONIAN RAILWAY FIRM: Several companies are interested in buying shares in the Estonian domestic passenger company, Edelaraudtee. Katrin Kivi, spokeswoman for the Estonian Privatization Agency, said the agency has received several bids and talks with bidders will start soon. The privatization agency's council will decide on the best bid by the end of June. Edelaraudtee board adviser Urmas Glase had earlier said that two Western European railway companies had expressed interest in the company. The company that wins the tender will have to increase Edelaraudtee's stock capital by 100 million kroons ($7.04 million). The company will require more than 1 billion kroons of investments over a period of five years.
EGG WAR STRETCHES TOWARD EASTER: The Latvian State veterinary service has banned egg imports from major Lithuanian producer Vievio Paukstynas. Lithuanian officials view this as an attempt to protect the Latvian market before Easter celebrations. Latvia banned imports of eggs and egg powder from Vievio Paukstynas poultry farm after salmonellae bacteria had been found in its production. Konstantinas Gedrimas, deputy director of the Lithuanian National Veterinary Service, said Latvians apparently want to protect their market from egg imports and have found a pretext to limit imports before Easter. Lithuania exported some 12 million eggs to Latvia last year.
ESTONIAN MEAT PROCESSORS DEMAND RPOTECTION: Estonian meat producers and processors have demanded the country should establish import tariffs on goods of non-EU origin to protect the Estonian meat market. At a forum organized by the meat sector of the Chamber of Agricultural Trade, companies agreed that in the course of accession talks with the European Union, Estonia should apply for the elimination of EU export support to goods imported into Estonia. The forum reached the conclusion that the Estonian meat market is flooded with foreign products, and the campaign of promoting Estonian goods has been unsuccessful. Participants in the forum admitted that import of meat products and raw materials is continuously increasing, and the Estonian market has been conquered by American chicken.