Off the wire

  • 2001-05-03
MILK CANNERY FOR SALE: The Rezekne milk cannery, whose products were on high demand in the former Soviet Union, now are desperately looking for investors. The company is negotiating with Russian Erkonprodukts on the possible investment, and, according to its acting board chairman, Andrejs Jermolajevs, the issue of investments could be resolved within two weeks. The Russian company is ready to buy cannery shares for 10 santims ($0.16) each and invest $6 million in the company. Nevertheless, the Rezekne cannery's liabilities must not exceed $1.9 million, even though its debt to Latvijas Unibanka has been at 2.7 million lats for a number of years. Unibanka has postponed the credit return deadline and helped the company to find an investor. "If there are no good relations with the bank and there is no investor, then hopes for the company to see the next spring are quite sad," said Jermolajevs. Last year Rezekne milk cannery posted a loss of 3.12 million lats on a turnover of 6.69 million lats.

SPACE TOURIST INSURED: The risk insurance company Baltijas Transporta Apdrosinasana is taking part in the insurance of American Denis Tito, who set off into space recently with Russian cosmonauts as the world's first space tourist, the company reported. Tito was insured against accidents in the pre-start preparation period and the entire flight, including landing. Russia's largest aeronautical and space risk insurance company Avikos has presented the American space tourist an accident insurance policy. The total limit is more symbolic at $100,000, meant as additional coverage for other insurance taken by Tito.

COMPETITION WORKS: The market share of the Estonian telephone company Eesti Telefon in international call minutes through the company's network was 70 percent in March, parent company Eesti Telekom reported on April 26. In long-distance calls within Estonia the former fixed-line monopoly's market share was 88 percent in March, the third month after the market opened for competition. Eesti Telefon's revenue from domestic long-distance calls in the first quarter of the year was down 26 percent from the same period in 2000, while revenue from international calls dropped 37 percent. Main line revenue was down by 7 percent year-on-year. Growth in local call revenue has continued. The share of local call revenue in total revenue rose to 20 percent from 18 percent in the first quarter of 2000. Local call revenue was up by 31 percent from the same period in 2000. Approximately 40 percent of the local call minutes are dial-up minutes, Eesti Telekom said.

FINNS WELCOME: A passenger hydrofoil is planned to start making regular trips between the Finnish port of Kotka and the small port of Vergi on Estonia's northern coast. The Estonian side of the project has already begun to build a hotel to accommodate Finnish arrivals. "I wouldn't talk much about the project at this point because the whole thing's still in the initial stages," said the project's Estonian representative, manager of the AS Monika OP company Olev Puldre. He said much depends on the government as a permit is needed for the new operation. Since Vergi is too shallow for catamarans, only hydrofoils can ply the new route, Puldre said. "There are saunas, inns and shops near the Vergi port and now we're also building a small hotel," Puldre said. The hotel, with 40 to 50 beds, is scheduled to be ready before the start of boat traffic.

BUYING CLOTHES: During foreign trips last year Latvian travelers bought mostly clothing and footwear, the Latvian Central Statistics Office reported last week. More than half of the items purchased by Latvian travelers abroad were clothing and footwear (56 percent). Household appliances accounted for 13 percent, gasoline 4 percent, food 2 percent and alcohol and tobacco 2 percent. The remaining 23 percent of all purchases made by Latvian travelers during foreign trips last year was made up of miscellaneous items. Among those who spent several days outside Latvia, the average daily cost in 2000 was 14.1 lats ($22.45) per traveler. Last year Latvian travelers spent a total of 147.9 million lats abroad and crossed the Latvian border over 2.58 million times, returning from foreign trips.

BALTPARK EXPANDS TO KLAIPEDA: The city planning committee of Klaipeda has approved plans by Baltpark, an economy hotel chain company operating in the Baltic countries, to build a new 84-room hotel at the Lithuanian port. Investments in the project, estimated to reach around 8 million litas ($2 million), will come from the Baltic Hotel Investment Fund Trust. Construction will be launched this autumn, with hopes of opening the hotel in the summer of 2002. Hotel Baltpark will be the second-largest hotel in Klaipeda and one of Lithuania's top 20 hotels. The modern economy class hotel will be able to accommodate 250 guests. Baltpark is planning to open an 84-room hotel in central Vilnius this June.

ENTERING BRITISH MARKET: Narbutas & Ko, Lithuania's largest office furniture manufacturer, exported production worth over one million litas ($250,000 million) to England in the first quarter of this year, almost as much as the company exported to that country in all of 2000. Narbutas & Ko has been successfully competing with Western producers in England since it sent its first shipment there in January 2000, the Lithuanian company said in a statement on April 25. Narbutas & Ko's exports to England totaled 1.3 million litas last year. The company said its total exports reached 5.3 million litas in the first quarter of 2001, more than a two-fold increase over one year. Exports to Western countries amounted to 2.6 million litas in the January-March period this year. Narbutas & Ko's overall sales totalled 9.3 million litas in the first quarter of 2001, up by 38.8 percent over the same period last year.