Telecoms merger makes Baltic index go up

  • 2002-04-04
  • Boris Epsteins
The sharp rise of telecommunication stocks last week after the merger announcement by Scandinavian Telia and Sonera, caused a rise in the Baltic List capitalization level.

Over the past week the Baltic List index gained 1.38 percent to 160.67 points, reaching a record high. Of the 13 Baltic List stocks, 10 gained last week with three falling. Lithuanian and Estonian telecommunication stocks gained 7.6 percent and 7.8 percent.

The Baltic List capitalization index last week actually gained 3.86 percent to 2.96 billion euros ($2.58 billion).

The short Easter week saw a fall in turnover of 8.76 million euros against 12.11 million euros the previous week.

Of this turnover, 65 percent was produced by Estonian stocks, while Latvian stocks contributed a significant 31 percent.

The Estonian and Latvian stocks on the Baltic List also held leading positions on local bourses, covering 95 percent of the turnover, while for Lithuania the figure was below 15 percent.

‰ The three days of trade on the Tallinn bourse cut short by Easter passed amid a passive mood. The TALSE index gained 3.95 percent from March 22, finishing at 179.32. Calculated in euros, the price index of Estonian Baltic List stocks gained 1.62 percent to reach 150.31 points.

The turnover from 356 deals was 92 million kroons ($5.1 million), Hansapank accounting for 63 percent, and all Estonian List shares for 96 percent of the total.

The decision of Finland's Sonera and Telia of Sweden to unite caused waves of excitement.

"Eesti Telekom shares made a solid rise, and at these levels there are more interested investors," Hansabank Markets broker Romet Tepper said. "Local investors are taking a profit, but Western interest is strong enough to maintain the price."

Eesti Telekom jumped 7.58 percent to 84.34 kroons amid trade worth 9.88 million kroons.

Still, most analysts believe the Sonera-Telia merger will in the longer term have a positive effect on Eesti Telekom but bring no significant changes in the short term.

The share climbed 2.52 percent from March 22, ending at 209.66 kroons on a turnover of 57.9 million kroons.

The investment bank Suprema raised the target price of the Hansabank stock to 240 kroons per share and maintains a "buy" recommendation, based on 2001 results and revised forecasts.

‰ Latvia's gas utility Latvijas Gaze is still the undisputed leader of the Riga bourse, with its turnover reaching 1.46 million lats ($2.3 million) at an unchanged price of 5.39 lats per share.

Latvia's stock indexes gained last week, but changed only insignificantly with the RICI price index up 1.04 percent in four days of trade last week to 188.72 points and the Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index up 0.2 percent to 72.95 points.

The Latvian Baltic List euro price index gained 1.22 percent last week to 229.7 points.

Thanks to large direct deals with Latvijas Gaze shares, the bourse's turnover reached 1.52 million lats, 99 percent of which was from Baltic List stocks.

Demand and supply for the Latvian gas utility remained fairly equal, keeping the price flat. A number of market players believe Latvijas Gaze shares are being bought up by the company's German shareholder E.ON Energia/Ruhrgas, which has not yet approved or denied the claim.

If this turns out to be true, with the gas shares being bought up by one or a small number of shareholders, then with current trade levels there will soon be no more free Latvijas Gaze stocks left on the market, causing a loss in stock liquidity and maybe even the stocks being delisted from the Riga bourse.

‰ Lithuanian stocks saw some interesting trade, with electronics maker Vilniaus Vingis generating a turnover of 4 million litas ($1.01 million) and bluechip Lietuvos Telekomas posting strong gains.

In block trading, large stakes in linen textile maker Linas and furniture producer Klaipedos Baldai changed hands.

The bourse's benchmark price index Litin-10 edged up 1.94 percent to 1170.74 points, the blue chip index Litin rose 5.40 percent to 369.58 points, and the broad index Litin-G was up 2.80 percent to 992 points.

Calculated in euros, price index of Lithuanian Baltic List shares, gained 1.31 percent to 146.3 points.

The week's equity turnover reached 12.86 million litas, with Baltic List securities trading generating 1.39 million litas or 11 percent.

Listed on the official list, Vilniaus Vingis climbed 3.98 percent to 4.70 litas amid a turnover of 4.04 million litas. On March 25, Vinvesta, the largest shareholders of Vilniaus Vingis, sold 7.27 percent of its shares in the electronics firm and reduced its stake to 29.6 percent.