In brief - 2003-01-23

  • 2003-01-23
Services to track rumor source

Arturas Paulauskas, speaker of Lithuania's Parliament, said he would ask the country's special services to track down sources involved in spreading rumors that Vilniaus Bankas, the country's largest commercial bank, was in trouble.

"I will ask the special services, the State Security Department, that these sources be identified beyond doubt. We will see what heads of our services are capable of," Paulauskas said after a meeting with the president of Vilniaus Bankas, Julius Niedvaras, and Central Bank Governor Reinoldijus Sarkinas.

The rumors about an alleged crisis in Vilniaus Bankas started in late December, prompting some people to withdraw their deposits from the bank. "This is not funny. It has very serious consequences. These rumors have affected Vilniaus Bankas in a certain way, too," he said. (Baltic News Service)

Ventspils managing despite ice, oil

Ice-free Ventspils Port is presently working at full capacity due to the cold winter, with all its largest terminals enjoying higher inflow of cargo, Ventspils Port Chairman Aivars Lembergs said.

Lembergs said that the Ventspils Nafta terminal is working at full load, receiving cargo by railway, as is Ventbunkers, which is currently reloading fuel oil. He added that Ventspils Nafta is transforming a part of its oil storage reservoirs for storage of diesel fuel, for which it lacks reservoirs.

Lembergs predicted that January will see record amount of incoming rail cargo over the past 12 years. Much of this is thanks to the weather, since it is highly complicated for Russia's ice-covered ports to channel cargo to other ports since contracts have already been signed, ships have been chartered, and cargo has been shipped to the ports and standing idle.

At present there is also a shortage of train cars and cisterns since, as Lembergs explained, some 700 train cars with cargo are waiting in St. Petersburg port. (BNS)

Vilnius gets new cargo terminal

Litcargus, a Lithuanian-German joint venture, on Jan. 20 opened a new cargo service center at Vilnius Airport - the second cargo terminal at the airport - with investments amounting to 2.2 million litas (637,000 litas).

Vidmantas Vaskys, head of Litcargus, which provides passenger, freight and flight services, said it was essential that the new freight import/export center will create competition to Lietuvos Avialinijos, which operates the first cargo terminal. In this respect, Vilnius Airport will be brought in line with the European Union requirements, under which at least two cargo terminals should operate at any airport.

"We expect to raise the turnover of freight by 50-60 percent from 1,200 tons to 1,800 - 2,000 tons per year. We will mainly focus on emergency cargo handling and the preparation for freight handling procedures in 2004," Vaskys said. (BNS)

Kesko Food gets new manager

The former manager of the Estonian media concern Ekspress Grupp, Gunnar Kobin, began work Jan. 20 as managing director of the Finnish Kesko Food's Estonian operation. His predecessor, Timo Hamala, will continue as development director of the Kesko concern in the Baltic states.

Kesko officials said Kobin would keep the company on its present course, with the strategic goal of occupying one-fourth of the retail food market in Estonia by the end of 2003. As to major upcoming events, the new CEO sees the opening of two new Citymarket stores in Tallinn and completing the development of the Saastumarket chain of discount stores.

Hamala, who was managing director of Kesko Food for six years, will take up the office of Kesko's Baltic development director, coordinating development activities of the concern's Estonian and Latvian subsidiaries. (BNS)

Kesko argo eyeing southern Estonia

Kesko Agro Estonia is planning to establish a farm machine and accessories shopping center outside Tartu to serve the whole southern part of Estonia.

Kesko Agro Estonia managing director Tonu Kelder said that the plans were to set up a center similar to the one now operating in Juri near Tallinn, only smaller. He said the company wanted to set up four regional centers. Other than Tartu, the company has targeted a center in Rakvere.

Kesko Agro, a firm that belongs to the Kesko Oy group, opened its farm machine and accessories center in Juri last summer, investing 24 million kroons (1.5 million euros) in building the center. (BNS)

Latvian shoes for Italy

The Ventspils city-based VentTopaz shoe plant has signed an agreement with Italy's HTM Sports on supplying goods, reported the company.

Though no figures or size of the deal were disclosed, VentTopaz will manufacture inner shoes for downhill ski boots made by the Italian company.

VentTopaz was officially opened three years ago as a Latvian-Canadian business, owned by Canadian Topaz Shoe Manufacturing and Ventspils port companies. The plant had previously made shoes for HTM Sports, but now the amount is set to grow.

The plant was idle for a brief period last year, with 120 employees being relieved of their jobs after problems had arisen with payments from a Dutch company Pilot Designe, which owed the plant some 100,000 euros.

The plant employs around half of its previously laid-off workers. (BNS)