In Brief - 2003-02-13

  • 2003-02-13
Drug maker unaware of owners

In response to a request by the stock exchange to give it information on the owners of Solem LLC, which has become a major shareholder in Latvia's Grindex, Estonia's Tallinna Farmaatsiatehas (Tallinn Pharmaceutical) said it does not have such information.

"Tallinna Farmaatsiatehase AS does not know who controls or has a holding in Solem LLC, which bought shares in PA/S Grindex on Nov. 26, 2002," the company said in response to a stock exchange request dated Jan. 27. According to the Tallinn Stock Exchange, Grindex owns 64.13 percent of shares in Tallinna Farmagtsiatehas.

"The board of Tallinna Farmaatsiatehas has turned to Grindex for respective information and the latter in turn to its shareholder, Solem LLC. As soon as any additional information is received it will be immediately published on the Tallinn stock exchange," Tallinna Farmaatsiatehas said.

Under the request, Tallinna Farmaatsiatehas was to submit within 14 days of the order a comment on the persons owning holdings in Solem LLC and the person or persons actually controlling Solem LLC or on the absence of such persons.Sampo Bank reported last November that SIA Arials, a company controlled by the bank, sold a holding in Grindex to two new investors: Anna Lipmane, a private person, who bought a 20.7 percent stake in Grindex, while a U.S.-based company, Solem LLC, acquired 45 percent. (Baltic News Service)

LASCO to sell two more tankers

Latvijas Kugnieciba (LASCO) is now negotiating with potential buyers for the time charter of two tankers with the option to buy the ships later, the company said in a report to the Riga Stock Exchange.

LASCO said it wanted to sell the Taganroga and the Razna tankers because large capital investments are needed to re-equip these tankers in accordance to the requirements of large oil companies. The company said the two tankers had stood idle for more than seven years after being arrested in France, where the ships were released on Oct. 2 after the close of the litigation between LASCO and Gdansk Shipyard.

LASCO's fleet currently comprises of 36 tankers, 12 refrigerator ships, 2 gas carriers and one dry cargo vessel. (BNS)

Mazeikiu slowly boosting throughput

Mazeikiu Nafta, Lithuania's sole oil refinery operated by Russia's oil giant Yukos, has said it processed 635,700 tons of crude oil in January, a 26.5 percent rise over the same period last year. In addition, Mazeikiu Nafta's Butinge terminal handled 713,800 tons of crude oil exports last month, more than a six-fold increase from the respective period in 2001.

The total volume of crude oil processed at the refinery and crude oil loaded onto tankers at Butinge reached 1.35 million tons in January, falling short of the group's target of 1.52 million tons.

The refinery, based in northwestern Lithuania, refined a total of 6.59 million tons of crude oil in 2002, down by 3.2 percent from the previous year. The Butinge terminal, meanwhile, handled 6.07 million tons of oil, up by 20 percent. A total of 23.39 million tons of oil and diesel fuel were pumped through the group's pipeline system last year, a 23.5 percent decline compared with 2001. (BNS)

Railroads get Euro-funding

The European Union is set to allot some 45.5 million euros in grants to finance a major railway development project in Lithuania, while the national railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) is to contribute another 80.9 million euros.

A financial memorandum on the 126.5 million euro railway investment project was signed in Vilnius on Feb. 6, the Lithuanian Finance Ministry announced. This is the largest project in Lithuania financed by the European Commission under the ISPA program. The project is planned to be completed by late 2006.

To date, the European Union has provided 141.47 million euros from ISPA funds to finance eight transportation projects in Lithuania. The total value of the projects amounts to 290.8 million euros. (BNS)

Apparel retailer doubles profit

Apranga, Lithuania's leading clothes retailer, announced an unaudited net profit of 4.9 million litas (1.5 million euros) for 2002, a 92.3 percent increase over the previous year.

Apranga, which is controlled by the MG Baltic Group, has seen its sales soar from 53.1 million litas in 2001 to 63.6 million litas last year. This year the company is projecting total sales of 86.4 million litas in Lithuania and Latvia, a 35.9 percent rise compared with 2002, as well as a pretax profit of over 7 million litas. In January of this year, the company boosted its sales by 63 percent year-on-year to 6.7 million litas.

The Vilnius-based company has earmarked 9.5 million litas in investments in expanding the retail chain in Lithuania and Latvia this year. (BNS)

Lauma falls short on revenues

Lauma, the largest textile producer in Latvia, posted a 2.5 million lat (3.9 million euro) unaudited profit for 2002 on a turnover of 19.3 million lats.

The company, most widely known for its lingerie, said last year's unaudited profit was up 200,000 lats from the 2001 profit of 2.3 million lats. However, company Vice-President Viktors Aispurs said the company failed to meet its planned sales result because of falling purchasing power on both Western and Eastern markets. Now Lauma hopes to be able to generate 21 million lats in turnover this year.

Last year the company invested some 2.8 million lats in development, and this year's investments are planned at 1.3 million lats, according to the company. (BNS)