In Brief - 2003-02-27

  • 2003-02-27
Consumers to blacklist violators

The Estonian Consumer Protection Board, using the public information law as a basis, intends to publish on its Web site a blacklist of companies that have repeatedly violated consumers' rights.

"Firms against whom many complaints are lodged and that repeatedly ignore consumers' rights will end up on the list," Kristina Vaksmaa, head of the board's consumer policy and public relations department, said. "There are some companies that repeatedly violate the law, committing the same offenses all over again. We hope the list will have a preventive effect that makes businesses observe laws."

Vaksmaa said there were no more than about a dozen firms that tend to break the law repeatedly. "The complaints we get are caused by a failure to meet the seller's obligations," she said. Problems tend to recur with regard to footwear shops, shops selling computers and computer accessories, and construction companies. (Baltic News Service)

Selling medical equipment to Iraq

Some Lithuanian companies could benefit financially from a possible military conflict in Iraq, as a war would increase demand for medical equipment and medication in the Middle East country.

Viltechmeda, the Vilnius-based producer of syringe pumps used to administer medicines in hospitals, is seriously considering entering the Iraqi market. The first syringe pump, produced by Viltechmeda under the brand name of Aitecs, was supplied to Iraq through a Swiss company last year. Anatoly Faktorovich, CEO of Viltechmeda, said exports to Iraq could be very profitable. "Iraq does not want to buy any equipment from the United States, so Lithuania, which is not a NATO member yet, is an acceptable trade partner," he was quoted as saying.

Viltechmeda expects to sell hundreds of syringe pumps in the Middle East country. The average price per unit is $1,000. Viltechmeda has already received an order from the U.S. for 500 syringe pumps, which are likely to be used in Iraq as well. (BNS)

Fish in lieu of crude

The port of Ventspils has decided to begin work on the launch of a new EU-level fish processing terminal.

According to port Chairman Aivars Lembergs, the terminal would handle, sort and freeze fish delivered by sea. Lembergs, who is also a mayor of Ventspils, said that the project would include reconstructing a port pier and equipping it with a production plant, freezer and other technology for processing fish. Though the project is intended to draw EU structural funding, the Ventspils mayor declined to estimate the amount of necessary investments. (BNS)

Czech streetcar assembly

Representatives of the Czech company Skoda discussed the possibility of setting up a streetcar assembly plant in Tallinn during a visit to Estonia last week.

"It's just an idea for now, but we intend to develop it further," manager of Tallinn's streetcar fleet, Uno Heinvere, told the Eesti Paevaleht daily. Heinvere said establishment of such a facility in Estonia would enable Skoda to cut streetcar manufacturing costs. "Actually, the difference between Czech and our production costs isn't all that big, but it still exists," he said.

Peeter Maspanov, chairman of the board of TTTK, Tallinn's streetcar and trolley bus company, added that establishment of a streetcar assembly facility in Estonia largely depends on how many streetcars the firm would buy from Skoda. "If it's only 10 streetcars, the venture wouldn't be worth the trouble. With the purchase of 40 new streetcars, it looks promising," he said. (BNS)

Electronics company boosted by Russia

Rigas Elektromasinbuves Rupnica, a producer of electrical appliances for electric trains, last year registered a 72,000 lat (114,000 euro) profit, which contrasts to a 52,000 lat loss in 2001.

Sales last year were up 44.6 percent to 7.2 million lats, Janis Medvedevs, the company council chairman added. He said the company, which has grown thanks to orders from Russia, where it sold 80 percent of its output, hopes to have even higher earnings this year.

Last year, RER repaired subway train engines for Sweden, worked on orders from Ukraine and collected scores of "smaller orders" from Russia after its biggest rival, St. Petersburg-based Elektrosila, was tied up with several multimillion dollar projects. (BNS)

Alna looking beyond borders

Alna, one of Lithuania's largest information technology firms, has plans to expand into the its Baltic neighbors and the nearby Nordic countries this year.

"Alna has proved that it can withstand competition outside Lithuania. Therefore, expansion into other countries is a logical step," said managing director Tomas Milaknis.

The first step will be the establishment of a joint venture. Doclogiksas, which along with MicroLink are the leading information technology companies in the Baltic states, will develop document management systems.

In the Nordic countries, Alna intends to develop technologies and sales rather than provision of services. Alna, which employs 250 people, mainly focuses on IT solutions and sales of services. In 2002, revenues from these operations amounted to 41 million litas (11.9 million euros). (BNS)