In Brief - 2002-08-29

  • 2002-08-29
More jobs

Estonia's unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent in the second quarter of 2002, the lowest level in five years, the national statistics office said Aug. 23.

The unemployment rated dropped from 11.2 percent in the first quarter and 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2001.

The survey found that 581,200 Estonians between the age of 15-74 held jobs, an increase of 1.1 percent from the first quarter, while the number of jobless fell 16.5 percent to 60,600. (Agence France-Presse)

Bids are in

Latvia appeared set to sell at least two of three licenses for UMTS services on offer after an existing operator and other companies filed bids by the Aug. 23 deadline, officials said.

Inara Rudaka, director of the Transport Ministry's communications department, told the Baltic News Service that bids for the licenses were received but declined to specify how many until their review scheduled for Aug. 28.

Latvia's two existing operators were offered licenses for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, which allows broad band wireless access to the Internet, for the fixed price of 5.8 million lats (9.8 million euros).

A new operator was offered UMTS and GSM licenses in an auction with an initial price set at 7.6 million lats. An auction is scheduled for Sept. 18 if two or more bids are received.

Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, owned by Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera, said it had applied for a UMTS license, but Tele2, owned by Sweden's NetCom, declined to comment. (AFP)

French connection

Air France is set to begin offering service to Vilnius via Prague as part of a code-sharing deal with the Czech airline CSA, Lithuanian Airlines said Aug. 23.

After a French-Lithuanian aviation agreement allowing code-sharing becomes effective, Lithuanian Airlines will be able to offer five flights per week to Madrid via Paris under a code-sharing deal with the Spanish airline Iberia.

The flights are likely to be launched at the end of September. (AFP)

Euro profits

The public television channel Eesti Televisioon, or ETV, expects its hosting of this year's Eurovision Song Contest to net profits of 5.5 million kroons (350,000 euros).

But Ignar Fjuk, of Estonia's Broadcasting Council, warned that ETV has yet to receive 10 million of the 35 million kroons promised by the government. Also, the state lottery company owes some 400,000 kroons as part of a cooperation agreement.

The budget for the contest finals, held in Tallinn in May, was projected at 122.65 million kroons. (Baltic News Service)

Export plans

Aldaris, Latvia's largest brewery, hopes to begin exporting beer to Denmark in the next few years, according to company President Vitalijs Gavrilovs.

Gavrilovs announced the company's plans in Denmark after meeting with Nils Andersen, president of Denmark's largest brewery, Carlsberg Breweries.

Aldaris began distributing Carlsberg in Latvia in July and plans to sell 1 million liters by year end. The company reported sales thus far of 70,000 liters.

Aldaris is currently sold in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. (BNS)

Metal investment

The Austrian metallurgical and chemical company Treibacher Industrie bought a 25 percent stake in Estonia's rare metals factory Silmet for 112 million kroons (7.2 million euros), Silmet said.

The deal keeps Silmet viable on the competitive market of rare metals, the company said in a statement.

Treibacher also secured an option to increase its holding to more than 50 percent.

Silmet is a rare earth metals factory in northeast Estonia near the Russian border with an annual turnover of 40 million euros. It processes tantalum and niobium ores and makes products for the aerospace, petroleum, ceramics and magnet industries. (AFP)

Wild wages

Growth in real wages outpaced growth in productivity in the second quarter of the year, Estonia's Finance Ministry said, warning that a continued trend could hurt the country's competitiveness.

"To compensate for a fast growth in expenses on wages, companies will have to raise prices or see profits fall, and that will inhibit investment activity," the ministry said in a statement.

But it did say that wage growth promotes private consumption, boding well for the Estonian economy.

The average wage in the second quarter was 6,353 kroons (406 euros) per month, 10.2 percent higher than in the second quarter of 2001, the central statistics bureau reported. (BNS)