Summed up

  • 1999-11-18
ESTONIA'S PORTER BEER TOPS: Estonia's Saku and A. Le Coq breweries
scored top points in the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat's
traditional blind test of new Christmas porters. Saku's Christmas
porter emerged as the winner with 16 points on a scale of 1 to 20 and
A. Le Coq's porter tied in third position with 15.6 points. Of
Finnish beers, the Pirkanmaa Christmas porter placed highest. Its 5.2
percent alcohol-content brew garnered 15 points and its 4.5 percent
brew, 14.2 points.

TONS OF ICE CREAM CONES: Ice-cream maker Tallinna Kulmhoone netted
17.8 million kroons ($1.18 million) in January through September as
compared with 16.4 million kroons in the same period a year ago. The
firm's consolidated net sales totaled 345.8 million kroons, showing a
year-on-year growth of 35.1 percent or 89.8 million kroons. Kulmhoone
sold over 3 thousand tons of ice cream in the nine months, up by 19.1
percent or 498.1 tons.

DRINKING MAY COST MORE: Tallinn's new leaders may raise the price of
water to its previous level to avoid supporting the city's water
utility, Tallinna Vesi, through the municipal budget. "The situation
has to be turned back to what it was," Deputy Mayor IvarVirkus said.
The tariff was lowered by two kroons two weeks before the October
elections, a move that damaged the city's relations with the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development and drew fire from Estonia's
Finance Ministry.

FISH RULING THROWN BACK: A Tallinn circuit court on Nov. 9 voided a
three-year-old lower court decision on the validity of transactions
between the fish processing firm RAS Ookean and foreign banks and
returned the case to the city court. The state court has in the past
four years already twice intervened in the dispute over Ookean's
agreements with Finnish banks Postipankki and Okobank Osuuspankkien
Keskusosakepankki, and Germany's Ost-West Handelsbank. The banks'
claim is based on 1993 loans whereby Ookean undertook to repay $14
million of the joint venture Esva's debt to the banks.

GAS PRICE MAY RISE: Lithuania's cash-strapped, state-run gas company
Lietuvos Dujos has asked for a raise in the price of gas to
consumers. The company seeks as much as a 71 percent hike for
households using gas stoves and a 3 percent to 20 percent increase
for larger consumers. The state's price and energy control
commission's decision is due by the end of this year, head of the
commission's gas section Vaidas Kasakaitis said. Lietuvos Dujos
Director Kestutis Sumacheris said the price of gas had not been
changed for five years.

EXPORTS BOOST KNITWEAR: Utenos Trikotazas, Lithuania's leading
knitwear producer, boosted its sales this year thanks to growing
exports to the West despite a downturn in the country's economy. The
company's 10-month sales totaled 88.7 million litas ($22.17 million),
of which 74.7 million litas' worth of production went to Western
buyers. The 10-month turnover rose by 6.7 million litas compared with
the same 1998 period. At the same time, exports grew by 10.5 million
litas and now account for 85 percent of the company's output.

LATVIJAS GAZE GETS GAS FROM RUSSIA: The board of state-owned company
Latvijas Gaze has been authorized to sign a gas-supply contract with
Russia's Gazprom on Nov. 15 for the period from 2000 through 2005, LG
Council Chairman Maris Gailis said. The contract will fix gas prices
for three years.

BANK MUM ON TALKS WITH PIRMABANKA: Norddeutsche Landesbank from
Germany refused to discuss the possible outcome of the talks with
Pirma Latvijas Komercbanka on acquisition of shares in the Latvian
commercial bank. "The engagement is under study by the bank's
management. However, the result is open," Norddeutsche Landesbank's
representative Arnd Fritzenmeier said Nov. 10. Norddeutsche
Landesbank recently opened a branch in Vilnius and another in

ARBED EYES LATVIA: Luxembourg-based steel manufacturer Arbed is
planning to enter the Latvian market, a company representative said
on Nov. 10 in Riga. He said that next spring the company will open
its representation in Latvia, and a warehouse and distribution
network. The company, with 500 firms, launched operations in
Lithuania and Estonia in August and has sold 2,000 tons in Lithuania
and 500 tons in Estonia. The annual turnover in 1998 was $6 billion.

BANK APPEAL GETS THUMBS DOWN: An Estonian state court appeals
selection committee turned down ERA Bank's appeal against a
bankruptcy ruling. The Tartu circuit court in August dismissed the
bank's appeal against the bankruptcy decision pronounced by the city
court in June. By Aug. 10, claims of 544 million kroons ($ 36.12
million) had been presented. Trustees estimate the bank's assets at
250 million kroons.