In Brief - 2003-04-24

  • 2003-04-24
Better pipes for Tallinn Water

The supervisory board of AS Tallinna Vesi (Tallinn Water) has endorsed a plan to construct water mains, sewage and rainwater conduits at a total cost of 93 million kroons (6 million euros), with 67 million kroons to be spent this year.

In all, AS Tallinna will invest 178 million kroons in the development of the city's water supply and waste disposal in 2003.

"It is necessary to make considerable investments in the replacement of the city's existing water network in the light of EU standards. Besides, improvements have to be made in the water purification process and other activities," Board Chairman Bob Gallienne said.

Tallinna Vesi management is aiming toward higher efficiency of the processes at the Paljassaare waste water purification plant, according to company officials. The biggest investment this year - 25 million kroons - will go toward more effective separation of nitrogen from waste water. (Baltic News Service)

Mothballing Naruta

Shareholders of Latvian sweets producer Naruta on April 17 resolved not to shut down the company in order to avoid further losses and to get larger liquidation quotas.

Naruta board member Bruno Ansons said the proposal to initiate liquidation had been made by shareholders. He said Naruta did poorly in 2002 because its products — halvah, sugar-coated bonbons, caramels - have high sugar contents, and with sugar price last year rising 22 percent on average, their self-cost increased substantially, losing out to cheaper import products. Investing in existing production would make no sense since Staburadze, Naruta's owner, is already successfully producing many of the sweets that Naruta used to make. (BNS)

Pipeline feeling worst of all

Of all the companies in the Ventspils Nafta concern, the one in the toughest situation is LatRosTrans, the pipeline operator, whose operations have been greatly impacted by Russia's decision to halt oil transportation by pipe to Latvia, Ventspils Nafta President Janis Adamsons said.

Adamsons noted that generally the concern's companies are working in line with their targets. He said the company was taking active measures to get the oil flow to Ventspils resumed. While declining to reveal what steps exactly are being taken, Adamsons said they were being undertaken "very actively."

While not predicting when these activities could yield any fruit and if the oil flow to Ventspils would resume before the end of the year, Adamsons noted that even if the oil flow to Latvia were not resumed, Ventspils Nafta nevertheless would survive. (BNS)

Drugmaker increasing output

Grindex, the largest pharmaceutical company in Latvia, and pharmaceutical maker Kalceks are planning to set up an ampule plant on Grindex's territory, said Grindex Chairman Valdis Jakobsons.

Jakobsons said the new plant, which will have a production capacity of 100 million ampules per year, was expected to be completed by 2006. He said that Kalceks was now producing some 15 million ampules a year, while Lithuania's Sanitas was producing 25 million ampules a year for Grindex.

Jakobsons said the ampules produced in the new plant were planned to be sold in the Baltics and beyond. (BNS)

Pharmaceutical takeover approved

The Lithuanian Competition Council said on April 17 that it would allow Kremi, controlled by the investment group Invalda, to acquire up to 100 percent of shares in Sanitas, the country's biggest pharmaceutical company.

At present, Kremi is Sanitas' largest single shareholder, with 44.06 percent of outstanding stock. Baltijos Finansu Vystymo Grupe (Baltic Financial Development Group, or BFVG), an investment company, holds another 22.03 percent of shares. Kremi, headquartered in Vilnius, specializes in real estate leasing operations. BFVG, based in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda, specializes in investment management and consulting matters.

Kremi is expected to announce a mandatory tender offer to buy the outstanding shares in Kaunas-based Sanitas in the near future. (BNS)

Take-off slots save LAL

The national air carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos (Lithuanian Airlines, or LAL) reported an audited net profit of 39.9 million litas (11.5 million euros) for 2002, based on Lithuanian accounting principles, on revenues of 266.3 million litas. The results contrast with 2001, when LAL posted an audited loss of 33.3 million litas on revenues of 232.5 million litas.

According to the data provided by the State Audit Office, some 23.4 million litas, representing more than 50 percent of the 2002 earnings, were received from the sale of Heathrow take-off and landing slots to British Airways. LAL now operates its scheduled flights to and from Gatwick.

Vidas Zvinys, LAL's managing director, attributed the positive results to further steps in fleet restructuring, revised routes and successful partnership. Moreover, the company has given up noncore activities and inefficiently used assets.

LAL is currently 100 percent owned by the Lithuanian government, which is selling 34 percent of shares in the company to an investor who will commit to raising the stake to 66 percent though a new equity issue at a later stage.

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) is the only contender. (BNS)