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  • 1999-04-01
HANSAPANK TO OPEN LITHUANIAN BRANCH SOON: Hansapank filed an application for a banking license with the Bank of Lithuania March 25. "When we obtain the banking license, only issues related to concrete business will remain," said, Ago Lauri, chief of the foreign division at Hansapank. He said that once the license is received, launching of a bank in Lithuania will take just weeks, not months. Hansapank has also filed an application with the Lithuanian central bank for acquisition of shares in AB Bankas Hansabank, a subsidiary to be set up in Lithuania. Hansapank currently owns two subsidiaries in Lithuania: the licensed securities brokerage Hansabank Markets and Hansa Capital. Lauri has previously said that Hansapank will invest 33 million litai ($8.25 million) to enter the Lithuanian market. That sum is enough to meet all capital adequacy norms set for a credit institution in Lithuania.

OIL CONCERN WANTS HIGHER IMPORT DUTIES ON FUEL: Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta has urged the government to raise import duties on gasoline and diesel fuel. The oil concern wants the gasoline duties to be raised from 5 percent to 15 percent and diesel-fuel duties from 5 percent to 10 percent, Verslo Zinios reported. The business daily quoted Mazeikiu Nafta Director General Gediminas Kiesus saying that the measure would strengthen the position of local producers. Deputy Economics Minister Gediminas Miskinis said the import duties could be raised up to the 10 percent allowed by the World Trade Organization. But in such case, the customs evaluation prices should be cut, he added. Deputy Foreign Minister Algimantas Rimkunas warned that W.T.O. and the European Union were highly sensitive about hikes in import duties on industrial production. The Foreign Ministry opposes any rise in import duties unless it is necessary, he said.

RUSSIA REVIEWS TRANSIT ISSUE: Market conditions will be the main factor determining the size of Russian transit through the Baltic states once Russia's new Baltic Sea ports in the St. Petersburg region start operations, a Russian Transport Ministry official said. Speaking to reporters during a conference on transit corridors in Tallinn March 26, Vyacheslav Parfyonov of the Russian Transport Ministry said the price of the services offered by different ports, their quality and border-crossing procedures were about to determine which way transit will go. Russia is set to continue work on building its own ports on the Baltic Sea, the official said. He added that, among other reasons, the projects were important as means to reduce unemployment.

TALLINN TO MAKE ENGINE PARTS FOR FORD AND VOLVO: The Swedish electronics company Berifors AB will start construction of a facility in Tallinn for the production of electronic components for Ford and Volvo tractors. The initial investment into the project amounts to 8 million kroons ($560,000). Berifors AB project manager Sten Mogard told the business daily Aripaev that if the production gets under way without problems and the customers are satisfied with the quality of the product, the company will expand its production facility in Estonia. Berifors, part of the U.S. industrial group Stoneridge Inc., is currently training 12 workers in Sweden for the Tallinn plant which would make 3,200 electricity-distribution systems for tractor engines monthly starting April 12. The product will go to tractor plants in Austria and Britain.

PRESIDENT DOES NOT SUPPORT TARIFF HIKE: Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis demanded that the Parliament review again the amendments to the law on customs taxes providing for increased import duties on cigarettes. In the letter to Parliament Speaker Janis Straume, Ulmanis said that he had studied the law in question and expert opinions enclosed to it and concluded that the competent officials had different views in the matter. Many officials claim that the proposed tariff hike on cigarettes to 30 percent violates EU and World Trade Organization requirements. The law amendments of customs rates had been adopted without due consideration, the president noted. The Parliament adopted the amendments March 18.

KAPITALA BANKA PAYS BACK: The to-be-liquidated Latvijas Kapitala Banka, the first victim to the Russian financial crisis, began paying compensation to its private depositors March 26. The bank's administrator said that the compensations will be paid in the amount of 50 percent of the total payment to be made under the primary list of creditors. The bank's administrator has transferred to Latvijas Krajbanka 43,500 lats ($75,000) to be paid to 189 creditors - individuals whose claims do not exceed 500 lats. The Riga Regional Court declared Latvijas Kapitala Banka insolvent as of September 2, 1988, and later the court ruled to begin bankruptcy proceedings in respect of the bank.