Baltic List down pending LASCO decision

  • 2002-07-04
  • Boris Epsteins
The Baltic Index saw minor changes over the last week but the Baltic List's capitalization fell due to the downward trend among the most highly capitalized stocks on the list.

The key events of last week took place in Riga where the stock exchange officially became a member of the Finnish stock exchange group HEX and started listing Latvian Shipping Com-pany shares on its official list.

It was not certain until the last moment whether LASCO shares were to be included also on the Baltic List (and consequently, the Baltic Index calculations) as of July 1 because the company's shares sold at a privatization auction late last week had been frozen by a Latvian court, acting on a complaint by an angry bidder. In the end, LASCO was included on the list as the 14th stock..

The Baltic Index of 13 Latvian, Lithuania and Estonian bluechip prices in euros edged up 0.17 percent to 156.07 points over the week.

Five stocks posted gains, six fell and two Lithuanian stocks stayed flat.

The Baltic List capitalization last week fell from 2.76 billion euros ($2.70 billion) to 2.7 billion euros.

Trading in Estonia and Latvia took place on only four days last week thanks to the midsummer holiday. Also, in Latvia most of the stock exchange turnover was contributed by LASCO shares, sending the Baltic List's weekly turnover down from 5 million euros to 3.4 million euros.

Estonian stocks generated 80.5 percent of the total with Latvian and Lithuanian stocks bringing in 13 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

The TALSE stock index fell 2.73 percent to 174.59 points over the week on 57.53 million kroons ($3.6 million) in turnover from 271 deals.

The price index of Estonian Baltic List shares fell 0.28 percent over the week and ended at 144.38 points.

Shares in Hansapank fell over the week by 3.26 percent, from 215.92 kroons to 208.88 kroons on a 28.77 million kroon turnover from 97 deals.

Eesti Telekom closed 3.03 percent lower at 70.10 kroons on trade of 10.59 million kroons from 61 deals.

After the primary placement of LASCO shares through a public offer last week, the Riga Stock Exchange began listing LASCO shares amid news about official takeover of the Latvian bourse by the HEX Group.

LASCO, plagued by scandals in the past, did not escape another one in its long-awaited privatization. This time a bidder, Britain's Beacon Shipping, contested the outcome of the auction which sold 51 percent of LASCO.

The listing of LASCO shares also had something to do with the unexpected turnaround in the Latvian government's approach to privatization of state holdings in the Ventspils Nafta oil terminal.

The Dow Jones Riga Stock Exchange capitalization index was up 0.77 percent to 172.88 points, and the RICI price index climbed 1.39 percent to 209.62 points.

The euro price index of Latvian Baltic List stocks was down 0.19 percent to 213.13 points. The sole reason for this is the growing euro exchange rate against the Latvian lat.

The weekly turnover of stocks on the bourse was 48.6 million lats ($80.5 million), 99 percent of which was brought in by LASCO shares, including 35.7 million lats in revenues from the LASCO privatization auction which were added to the stock exchange turnover.

The Baltic List stocks last week contributed less than 1 percent to the total stock market turnover, but it is already clear that LASCO shares will be put also on the Baltic List in early July.

The price for LASCO shares, sold at the privatization auction for 0.35 lats apiece, was in the range of 0.30 to 0.35 lats on the stock market.

Ventspils Nafta shares gained 1.5 percent over the week to 0.67 lats on a trade of 21,700 lats.

Latvijas Gaze inched up 0.55 percent to 5.4 lats last week, generating 248,000 lats in trade.

Of the stocks quoted on the second list, Latvijas Balzams distillery gained 2.7 percent to 0.38 lats over the week.

In Lithuania, the benchmark price index Litin-10 was up 1.92 percent to 1190.66 points. The bluechip index Litin inched down 1.53 percent to 306.73 points, and the broad index Litin-G edged down 0.38 percent to 902.00 points.

The equity turnover for the week reached 14 million litas ($4 million), with just 750,000 litas or 5 percent of the total generated in Baltic List securities trading.

The price index of Lithuanian Baltic List shares gained 0.72 percent over the week, ending at 151.19 points.

On the Current List, the shipping firm Lisco Baltic Service ended flat at 0.40 litas on the largest turnover of 337,200 litas on the central market. The beginning of the week saw greater trading activity in the company's shares. On June 24, a 3.24 percent state-owned stake in the company was sold.

Two potential buyers emerged after the Lithuanian State Property Fund reduced the price from 0.43 to 0.41 litas per share, and the shares were sold for 0.42 litas. The Danish shipping company DFDS Tor Line, the company's largest shareholder, bought the whole stake for 4.41 million litas.

On the Official List, Lietuvos Telekomas slid 3.42 percent to 1.13 litas in trade worth 273,700 litas. Shares worth 72,600 litas were sold in block trading.

A total of 602,336 Ukio Bankas shares worth 7,22 million litas, 9.94 percent of the company's authorized capital, were sold on June 24. The shares were sold at face value - 12 litas each.

According to the Lithuanian stock exchange, 9.94 percent of Ukio Bankas shares where owned by the foreign capital company Citystate Investment Limited last March.