In Brief - 2002-07-18

  • 2002-07-18
Information shortage

A study by the Estonian Export Agency showed that 41 percent of corporations said their business was affected by lack of information about potential markets.

The information service operated by the Export Agency is modeled on business information and support systems used abroad. For instance in Finland a similar information center receives over 6,000 telephone inquiries a year.

In Estonia the information center receives the majority of inquiries from abroad through Estonian embassies that receive such inquiries from local companies. The majority of inquiries comes from Sweden and usually concern potential subcontractors in metalworking, electronics, textiles and timber.

Of the inquiries made by Estonian companies, 90 percent are interested in establishing business contacts in Western Europe, with 60 percent of the inquiries concern Scandinavia. (Baltic Business News)

LatRosTrans plans to modernize

The Latvian-Russian joint venture LatRosTrans is preparing to spend 19.08 million lats ($32 million) to upgrade its diesel fuel pipeline.

The Latvian Finance Ministry reported that later this week the State Support Surveillance Committee will decide on possible tax breaks for the project.

The company says the project will boost pipeline capacity by joining the port of Ventspils with Russian fuel supplies. The company says the upgrades will also reduce the risk of accidents.

According to company officials, the project will include replacing pipes that are more than 20 years old and is expected to be completed by 2004.

In Latvia, capital investments of more than 10 million lats for projects that take less than three years are eligible for a 40 percent tax exemption.

LatRosTrans handles the crude oil and diesel pipelines linking Polotsk, Russia and Ventspils, and Mazeikiai in Lithuania. The company's largest shareholder is Ventspils Nafta, which holds 66 percent. Thirty-four percent is held by Russia's Transnefteprodukt. (BNS)

Beer sale

Finland's Olvi Oy brewery, principal owner of Estonia's A Le Coq, has increased its holdings in Latvia's Cesu Alus from 61 percent to 91 percent.

The company owns shares in Cesu worth 3.7 million euros ($3.66 million) and controls 95.25 percent of voting rights.

Cesu Alus is one of Latvia's leading breweries, with a market share of

7.2 percent and a production capacity of 20 million liters of beer per year. In 2001, the brewery had sales of 2.7 million euros. (BBN)

Ekranas' profits down

The Lithuanian television tube manufacturer Ekranas announced July 15 earnings of 20.1 million litas ($5.8 million) in unaudited pretax profit in the first half of 2002, a 28.4 percent drop from the same period last year.

The company's turnover grew by 13.3 percent to 235.6 million litas.

Ekranas exports about 90 percent of its production, with companies such as Toshiba, Siemens and ABB among its major customers.

The Swiss company Farimex owns 15.9 percent of Ekranas, and the Turkish investment fund Profilo Sanayi Ve Ticaret holds a 12.9 percent stake. (Agence France-Presse)

Unemployment down

All three Baltic states saw unemployment fall in June but Lithuania continued to have the highest figure and Estonia the lowest, the National labor offices said last week.

In Lithuania, the unemployment level ran at 10.7 percent of the work force on July 1 or a total of 187,500 people out of work, down 0.4 percentage points month on month.

In Latvia, the rate was 7.9 percent, or 93,500 jobless, down 0.1 percent from last month.

In Estonia, it was 5.5 percent, or 45,200 people - down from 49,900 at the end of May. (AFP)

Vilniaus Bankas in the money

Lithuania's largest bank, Vilniaus Bankas, said that net profit in the first half of 2002 amounted to 63.9 million litas ($18.5 million), almost double the same period last year. The bank, owned by Sweden's Skandinavska Enskilda Banken, or SEB, earned 34 million litas in the first half of 2001.

With assets of 1.8 billion euros ($1.78 billion) at the beginning of 2002, Vilniaus Bankas holds 50 percent of the market. (AFP)

Industrial output up

Latvian industrial output climbed by 4.4 percent in May from the figure in the same month last year, the national statistics office said last week. Output climbed by 1.6 percent in May from the previous month fueled by increases in the mining and quarrying, and manufacturing sectors. (AFP)

Electronics sales up

Lithuanian electronics manufacturer Vilniaus Vingis, which supplies its production to the Philips and Samsung companies, said last week it earned 7.64 million litas ($2.08 million) in pretax profit in the first half of 2002, an 85 percent increase compared with the same period of 2001.

Sales in the period grew by 17 percent to 77 million litas. The company's main customers are Philips and Samsung, as well as local TV-tube producer Ekranas. (AFP)