In Brief - 2003-06-05

  • 2003-06-05
Kraft riding economic growth wave

Kraft Foods Lietuva, one of the leading confectionery and snack producers in the Baltic countries, posted a net profit of 15.2 million litas (4.4 million euros) for 2002, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.

The company's annual sales for 2002 reached 19,668 tons, up by 6.7 percent, while revenues grew by 4.4 percent to 254 million litas.

In 2003, Kraft Foods Lietuva aims to achieve net profit growth of 16 percent and to boost its sales revenues by 8 percent. according to the company's 2002 annual report to the Lithuanian Securities Commission.

Kraft Foods Lietuva's products – Estrella potato chips, Karuna confectioneries and semifinished confectionery products – are exported to Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Kazakhstan. (Baltic News Service)

Fertilizer producer is back to life

After a one-year break Nitrofert, Estonia's largest fertilizer producer in the northeastern part of the country, announced last week that it would hire back some 400 workers it had laid off in 2002.

According to Viktor Melnik, managing director of Nitrofert, the production is slated to run at full capacity by July 2003.

In April 2002 Nitrofert ran into difficulties once its gas supply contract with Russia's Mezhregiongaz was canceled, and the company sent most of its workers to paid vacation. But due to the low world market price for carbamide, in November the company had to fire 400 out of 480 workers.

This time the company is "counting on the sustainability of current ammoniac and carbamide prices," said Melnik. "Our main shareholder, Oriental Chemtrade, has helped sign gas – supply contracts from Gazprom for the next five years, and we now can develop our production strategy." (The Baltic Times)

Latvian food companies need breather

Nearly 80 Latvian food companies have sought a transition period for bringing their hygienic and production facilities in line with EU standards after Latvia's accession in May 2004.

Transition periods - expiring in late 2004 or 2005 - have already been granted to 12 slaughterhouses, 26 meatpackers, 29 fish processing companies and 11 dairies, according to the list approved by the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service.

During the transition period, which Latvian companies alone can opt for, the given companies will be allowed to sell their products only on domestic market. Once a business has upgraded its production to the EU level, it will receive access to the common market.

International projects unit manager Biruta Amolina said seeking a transition period had been a wise move because companies which did not care to make the request would be shut down for noncompliance. (BNS)

Americans taking to Turi vodka

Turi vodka, made by the Estonian beverage maker Onistar for the Bacardi Martini Group, is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, the daily Eesti Paevaleht reported.

"Turi vodka is selling excellently in the United States. Since last August, 710,000 liters of it have been produced and exported, which exceeds the previously agreed quantities several times. the new year, sales are forecast to reach more than 1 million liters," said Tiit Maidre, adviser to the management board of Onistar.

A bottle of the exclusive Turi vodka costs $35 (retail), which is more than seven times the price of ordinary vodka in the United States.

It is planned that the vodka will have won nationwide recognition in the States and reached outlets across the country by this fall. (BNS)

Estonian-made Finnish lures

The Finnish fishing tackle manufacturer Rapala, based in Parnu, is about to complete a 1,000-square-meter annex to its lure factory, the regional newspaper Parnu Postimees has reported.

The manager of the plant, Rauno Rantanen, said that Rapala had not been assembling lures in Parnu, but soon the company would start shipping finished products packed in Estonia directly to international customers.

Rantanen said that when the plant started making lures in Parnu in 1997 the chief concern was to maintain their high quality and that the tackle's reputation, highly valued among anglers, would not suffer. The plant now makes 50,000 lures - including some 1,200 types - daily.

"Now Estonians, too, play a part in the reputation of our lures, `Made in Estonia' is printed on the packaging," Rantanen observed, adding that the annex will create 50 jobs.

Rapala markets its lures in 130 countries, mostly in the United States, Canada and Japan. Rapala is the world's largest lure producer whose four factories and other units employ a total of 2,800 people. The concern's sales last year reached 172 million euros. (BNS)

Construction boom in Lithuania CONTINUING

Lithuanian builders carried out construction works for a total of 488.8 million litas (141.7 million euros) in the first quarter of this year, a 19.5 percent rise over the same period last year.

Total volume of construction works on the domestic market grew by a stunning 21.2 percent year-on-year to 480.9 million litas, spurred by rising growth rates in new construction, reconstruction and repair. New construction made up as much as 41.3 percent of the total construction volume, while reconstruction and repair accounted for 27.5 percent and 26.9 percent, respectively.

The largest volume of construction works in January-March (47 percent) was carried out in Vilnius. Construction works in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda districts totaled 76.8 percent. (BNS)