In Brief - 2003-03-20

  • 2003-03-20

Estonia to show one-touch phone

The manufacturer of GSM-based telephone equipment Oskando has developed a one-button cell phone which the firm will present at the upcoming CeBIT information and telecommunication technologies fair in Hannover.

"We've been working on the one-button cell phone for six months already," manager Andrus Aaslaid said. "Although the first batch of the phones should be ready in the first half of April, we're taking materials introducing the product to the conference and hope we'll manage to conclude preliminary agreements on marketing the phone."

The one-button phone is a small and weatherproof simple device that fits snugly into the palm, whose sole button can either work as a panic button or allow the holder to accept or make a conventional phone call. The new phone is meant primarily for people who need a telephone that is fast and easy to use, Aaslaid said. (Baltic News Service)

New Veldze owners consider changes

Grigorijs Vovks, the new owner of Veldze beverage company, is considering transferring production from Veldze to the production facility of Berlat, a liquor distiller that has gone insolvent.

Vovks, who acquired a 28.9 percent stake in Veldze last week, said that no specific decisions had been made yet, and there were no plans to merge production facilities of Veldze and Berlat.

The firm Mono sold last week 73.2 percent of Veldze to the U.S.-based Idealux LLC and Grigorijs Vovks, with 44.2 percent going to the former and 28.9 percent to Vovks. Speaking about Veldze's trademark, Vovks said it would be retained.

Vovks, who at present works as Berlat manager, said he was considering the purchase of Berlat's shares, though he would not elaborate. (BNS)

Newcomers take over Sanitas

Baltijos Finansu Vystymo Grupe (Baltic Financial Development Group, or BFVG) and Kremi, a member of the investment group Invalda, have acquired a 71.98 percent stake in Sanitas, the country's largest pharmaceutical company.

BFVG and Kremi paid 16.34 million litas (4.73 million euros) for the block of shares, which cost 4.08 litas per share and had a face value of 5 litas per share. The transaction concluded March 14. The two companies hold equal stakes in Sanitas, according to a press release.

Based in Vilnius, Kremi is engaged in real estate leasing operations, while BFVG, based in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, specializes in investment management and consulting. It owns Naujasis Sirijus, the Klaipeda-based battery factory.

Baltic Republic Fund, the European investment fund that is undergoing liquidation, had owned 50.63 percent of the shares in Sanitas.

Sanitas' new majority shareholders will soon announce an offer to buy out minority shareholders at 4.08 litas a share. (BNS)

Top-line success at Eesti Ehitus

Eesti Ehitus (Estonian Construction), one of the largest construction companies in this Baltic state, made a net profit of 15.7 million kroons (1 million euros) on a consolidated net turnover of 989 million kroons in 2002, according to unaudited figures.

Despite significant turnover growth, the profit did not come up to expectations, the company reported. "The year 2002 was crucial for Eesti Ehitus, as the firm was transformed from a subsidiary of the EE Grupp into the parent company of one of Estonia's largest construction concerns," said Toomas Luman, head of the supervisory council of Eesti Ehitus and CEO of EE Grupp.

"Economic results of Eesti Ehitus in 2002 were modest despite a large turnover," Luman added. "There were two main reasons for this. First, rather large restructuring-related expenses, and second, the failure - in economic terms - of our largest and apparently one of the largest Estonian construction projects since restoration of independence - the Galvex galvanizing plant at Muuga." (BNS)

Yachts in place of canned fish

Latvia's largest fuel wholesaler, Kurzemes Degviela, has bought the bankrupt Juras Licis fish processing plant at an auction and plans to establish a yacht club and hotel at the site situated the mouth of Lielupe River.

Kurzemes Degviela was the only bidder in the auction for the old fish plant and bought it for 1.6 million lats (2.5 million euros), the minimum price for which the plant was to be sold, said the company administrator.

Kurzemes Degviela President Argots Lusins said that the old fish plant was to see a yachting harbor built, winter storage facilities for sailing equipment and repairs, as well as a hotel and other tourism-related objects, drawing tourists and jobs for locals.

Lusins said that the new tourism center would provide no fewer jobs than the fish plant used to. He said that the company had been discussing expansion into the tourism sector since last year and that the acquisition of Juras Licis was the first step in that direction. (BNS)

Cleaner water for Lithuanians

The European Union will grant 14.9 million euros to finance three regional environmental projects in Lithuania under the ISPA program, the Lithuanian Finance Ministry said.

Under the financing memorandum signed in Vilnius on March 17, the European Union is to contribute 61.7 percent of the total costs of the projects, estimated at 24.3 million euros.

These projects include the construction of sewage treatment facilities in Mazeikiai, the reconstruction of sewage treatment plants and extension of water supply networks in Kedainiai and Radviliskis. (BNS)