Ventspils deal surprises all

  • 2003-04-10
  • Thomas Foulquier

The Baltic Index rose 3.7 percent over the last week to 189.91 points, its highest level in years.

"Last week was very positive, with the index reaching its highest level in years," said Janis Ogsds, senior broker for Hansabanka in Riga.

"It creates optimism, and I believe the market will not fall while Western markets feel the crisis," he added.

The week was especially busy in Riga, with trade on Latvian stocks comprising an extraordinarily unusual 68.5 percent of the week's Baltic turnover. Much of that volume, however, was thanks to one large block deal with Ventspils Nafta stock.

Latvijas Naftas Tranzits (LNT), the largest private shareholder of Ventspils Nafta oil terminal, sold 9.1 percent of VN shares in a REPO transaction to raise financing for the purchase of 5 percent of VN that is still owned by the state. The move sparked a protest in the government, with one minister calling for the stake to be arrested.

Ventspils Nafta weekly turnover reached 11.5 million euros, and the stock price rose 4 percent to 1.24 euros.

Latvijas Gaze stock price lost 0.3 percent over the week to 8.73 euros, while Latvijas Kugnieciba (LASCO) gained 3.8 percent on light trade.

Riga's price index RICI gained 0.41 percent to 287.4 points.

In Tallinn, Eesti Telekom's announcements to pay dividends jolted the stock up 4.72 percent over the week to 5.76 euros, propelling it to the week's winners' list.

Hansapank shares edged up 0.6 percent during the week to finish at 15.90 euros on a busy week that featured an annual general meeting and dividend announcements.

In Vilnius, Lietuvos Telekomas increased 3.9 percent to 0.3 euros.

On the losers' list Vilniaus Vingis electronics maker lost 1.5 percent, and Rokiskio Suris cheese maker fell 2 percent. The list was completed by Latvijas Gaze, which was slightly down 0.3 percent.

Investors also continued to feel bullish about Snaige, Lithuania's refrigerator maker, propelling the stock another 9 percent over the week on news about the company's expansion plans into Russia.