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In Brief - 2002-07-11

  • 2002-07-11
Estonian prices up

In June consumer prices in Estonia rose 3.8 percent compared with prices in June last year, the national statistics office said. Prices were 0.1 percent lower than in May of this year. The month's drop was based on a 0.2 percent decrease in the price of goods and a 0.1 percent increase in the price of services. (Agence France-Presse)


Latvian startups sluggish

Only 3,153 new enterprises were incorporated in Latvia in the first half of this year, a 21.5 percent reduction on the same period last year, said the country's Enterprise Register, which attributed the drop to economic conditions and confusion surrounding the introduction of a new commercial code at the beginning of this year. (Baltic Business News)


Yukos looks west

Russia's Yukos oil company has announced plans to send a tanker with 270,000 tons of oil to the United States every month which could benefit the Baltic states, reports the Interfax news agency.

Yukos owns nearly a one-third stake in Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta oil refinery. Latvia's Ventspils port could also benefit as it is the largest Baltic port used for exporting Russian oil.

Yukos President Nikolai Bychkov told a company meeting in Lipetsk, Russia the decision was based on the success of an earlier trial oil shipment to the United States. The company will reportedly send a second shipment of 2 million barrels (about 270,000 tons) across the Atlantic in August. Exxon Mobil Corporation is believed to be the purchaser of both shipments.

Yukos First Vice President Mikhail Brudno told a news conference in Houston, United States, that the company planned to send five or six tankers to the United States before the year end, but some problems such as pricing and transport remain. (BBN)


Ferry loses license

The Estonian Maritime Board has suspended the license of the ferry Linda Express pending an investigation into a recent incident at sea. The ferry, which is operated by Estonia's Linda Line, began plying the busy route between Helsinki and Tallinn only in June.

According to Eesti PÊevaleht, the ferry suffered a technical malfunction on July 6, as a result of which its engine room was flooded, it became unstable and tilted significantly. There were over 200 passengers on board at the time. The vessel completed its voyage at reduced speed before returning to Tallinn. (BBN)


Privatization promises

Lithuania's government has promised the International Monetary Fund it will privatize the major companies that remain in state hands. The sell-off of the eastern and western power distribution networks will be begun in the fourth-quarter of this year and is expected to be completed in the second-quarter of 2003.

A tender for the state's 49 percent stake in the flagship Lithuanian Airlines will be announced in the second half of this year and the deal should be closed by next March. Lithuanian Export and Import Insurance is to be offered to investors at the end of this year and the National Stock Exchange in 2003.

Next year, the shipping companies Lietuvos Juru Laivinikyste and Klaipedos Transporto Laivynas will be on the block, and the state also intends to sell all its holdings in four alcohol companies. (BBN)


Consumer prices down

Lithuanian consumer prices decreased by 0.5 percent in June compared with June 2001, the national statistics department said July 8.

Consumer prices dropped by 0.3 percent in June compared with May, it added. Since the start of 2002 prices in Lithuania have decreased by 0.7 percent. (AFP)


Dialing for beers

The Estonian Mobile Telephone Company's latest service, purchasing beer over your mobile phone, went on display at Beer Summer, Estonia's largest beer festival, on July 7-8.

"Of 400 pints that we sold yesterday, abound 200 were purchased by mobile telephone," said a representative of A Le Coq brewery at the festival. All the customer must do is call a special number to activate an account via an Internet bank and then transfer some money to it. (BBN)


Energy reshuffle

The board at the state-owned power company Eesti Energia has two months to draw up a report on forming an integrated oil shale-based firm by combining the mining company Eesti Polevkivi and power company Narva Elektrijaamad. Urmas Soorumaa, head of the Eesti Energia council, said the move would have major implications for the power company's future. (Baltic News Service)


Threat to Estonia

A new study revealed that food producers from Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are gaining ground in the Estonian market. The Estonian Institute for Market Research also said the proliferation of big supermarkets in the capital, Tallinn, had hurt local producers as well since many limit the number of Estonian products they carry.

Estonian poultry producer Tallegg is facing tough competition from imported poultry products while Estonian-made margarine, wheat flour, cheese and pork are all losing market share, the institute said. (BBN)