RIGHT CHEMISTRY: The Lithuanian and British chemical company Vilniaus
Buitines Chemija has been sold for 460,000 litas ($115,000). Another
5 million litas ($1.25 million) is to be invested in the company in
the next five years. Baltic Retail, engaged in the sale of cosmetics
and perfume in the Baltic states, Ukraine and Belarus, acquired 66.1
percent of the company's shares with a nominal value of 1.997 million
litas.The contract was signed on June 30.
OPTIVA SHARES SOLD: The Bank of Estonia will get 214.36 million
kroons ($13 million) for its 57.9 percent ownership stake in Optiva
Bank, with the final price of the deal to become clear in mid-2002.
The Bank of Estonia and Finland's Sampo Finance signed a sale and
purchase agreement on the stake in Optiva Bank on June 29.
TAKES A HIKE: The Estonian telephone company Eesti Telefon will
raise the price of international telegrams effective Aug. 1, to end
subsidies of the service at the expense of other rate payers. Eesti
Telefon said a continued decrease in the number of international
telegrams sent to Estonia requires a rise in tariffs for telegrams
sent from Estonia to Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus and
OILING A DEAL: Lithuanian's Ministry of Economics, Valentinas
Milaknis, said progress has been made in negotiations on future
cooperation between Mazeikiu Nafta refinery and Russia's LUKoil. Both
parties are actively engaged in discussions. Milaknis said the
discussions have a constructive tone.
VODKA TAX DOWN: Lithuania has obligated itself to reduce the import
duties on vodka and spirits. The Lithuanian government approved a
bill from the Ministry of Agriculture on June 28, to reduce the
import fees charged on alcoholic drinks by 5 percent annually. EU has
suggested applying a zero tariff on other goods.
MORE PORRIDGE: The stance by the Latvia's president, Vaira
Vike-Freiberga, and her support for the issue of grain intervention
has pleased the Farmers Federation. Spokesman for the union, Augusts
Brigmanis, said the president's support on the issue of the grain
growers' problems is needed. The Latvian people need to know that
rural issues are relevant to everyone, and Latvia needs to
decentralize itself from Riga, said Vike-Freiberga.
HEAT ON THE COALS: A large heating systems operator has declined to
operate in Lithuania. The French company Dalkia, expressed its
disappointment with the government's decision to decline support for
the Kaunas energy problem. The financially burdened Lithuanian energy
company, Kauno Energija, would like to rent the loss incurred heat
production company for 15 years. The Lithuanian minister of
economics, Valentinas Milaknis sent a letter to Dalkia to announce
the Lithuanian government has disengaged itself from finding a
solution to Kaunas Energija's financial problems.
1,000 SESSIONS: The Riga Stock Exchange held an anniversary
celebrating its 1,000th session of trading. Celebrating the new
e-broker system and five years of trading, the exchange reduced
brokerage payments July 3-7. The discount is meant to entice future
bond buyers into RSE.
BALTIC WAR: The decision by Lithuania's Competition Council to impose
a tax on Latvian-made matches for a period of six months might start
a trade war. The tax might also be applied on the Latvian yeast
product, Rigas Raugs. In the event Lithuania adopts anti-dumping laws
against Rigas Raugs, the Latvian Foods Companies Federation might
consider the possibility of Latvia to adopt respective measures
against Lithuania. In the case that no agreement can be reached, both
Latvia and Lithuania will institute counter measures.