In Brief - 2003-07-03

  • 2003-07-03
Italians to take over Alita
Luigiterzo Bosca, president and owner of the Italian wine group Bosca, confirmed on June 30 that he has been selected as the winning bidder for an 83.77 percent equity stake in Alita, one of Lithuania's four state-run alcoholic beverage producers.
The Lithuanian State Property Fund, which has yet to officially announce the winning bidder, is expected to begin negotiations with the potential buyer on July 3.
Bosca bid over 90 million litas (26 million euros) for the stake in Alita, well above the initial selling price of 50 million litas, a local public relations agency said.
According to the statement, Bosca expects to close a deal on the acquisition of the stake in Alita by the end of the summer. "We will invest in new sparkling wine production technologies and operate in all Baltic countries, Scandinavia, the western part of Germany, Poland and other states," he was quoted as saying.
Alita, based in Alytus, in southern Lithuania, is the country's leading producer of sparkling wine. The company also produces strong alcoholic beverages. (Baltic News Service)

Sales of Ventspils Nafta stake postponed
After hours of heated discussion the council of the Latvian Privatization Agency finally agreed to allow for an extension on negotiations for selling the state's 5 percent stake in the oil terminal Ventspils Nafta to majority private shareholder Latvijas Naftas Tranzits.
The agency's council allowed for changes in the privatization terms and allowed for an extended deadline for negotiations, but no later than July 17. The council approved the move with six votes for, two against and three abstaintions, including Economy Minister Juris Lujans'.
On May 26 the agency agreed that LNT could buy the 5 percent stake for a price of 4.5 million lats (7.1 million euros), calculated from the average price on the stock market. A contract for LNT to buy out the 5 percent stake reserved since the oil terminal's initial privatization in 1997 was handed to LNT on June 3 by the privatization agency and was to be signed by June 17. However, LNT requested a month's extension on this deadline.
Before signing up for the 5 percent stake LNT, which owned 47 percent in Ventspils Nafta, sold off 9.2 percent of its stake to a third company with the right to buy the stakes back at any time. Thus LNT will not have over 50 percent and will not have to announce a share buyout after acquiring the 5 percent stake. (BNS)

Rokiskio's powdered milk banned
Utenos Pienas, a subsidiary of Rokiskio Suris, one of Lithuania's leading dairy groups, has been temporarily banned from exporting powdered milk products, the country's State Food and Veterinary Service announced on June 27.
The veterinary service said it had imposed the temporary ban after Utenos Pienas' powdered milk products were found to contain residues of antibacterial substances. Samples of the products were collected from a 22-ton consignment at a veterinary checkpoint in Germany and sent to a German laboratory for testing.
Antanas Trumpa, CEO of Rokiskio Suris, said the company did not have precise devices for measuring residues of antibacterial substances.
The company has exported 600 tons of dairy products this year. (BNS)

manager forced to resign for inside trading
After having looked into circumstances connected with a recent stock issue, Estonia's Hansapank established that a bank employee could have passed on inside information and that there was a conflict of interests in the activity of the bank's fund manager.

Fund manager Peet Kuld resigned as a result of the inquiry.
Hansapank reported that in the course of the stock issue by AS Klementi a bank employee passed on information based on his personal assessments, which by law can be regarded as inside information. A conflict of interests was established in Kuld's activities, by which the interests of the employer and fund shareholders were damaged, as the fund manager competed with the fund he managed as a private person, the bank said.
The case is not related to lack of necessary regulations but non-observation of the existing practices, for which the responsibility lies with market specialists and their employers, Hansapank said.
Hansapank simultaneously apologized to AS Klementi as well as investors. (BNS)

New operator on passenger railway system
The Latvian Public Utilities Regulatory Commission will grant an individual passenger transportation license to L-Ekspresis, partner of the state-owned Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railway), said the regulatory body.
L-Ekspresis plans to launch independent international passenger transportations by partly taking them over from Latvian Railway, L-Ekspresis lawyer Igors Vasiljevs said. He said L-Ekspresis so far had been arranging international passenger transportation in cooperation with Latvian Railway and added that the company still should agree with Latvian Railway on which international routes the company could take over from it as well as on the rental of locomotives.
Vasiljevs said the company for the time being was not planning to launch domestic passenger routes. He said the company couldn't begin the transportation yet since it first should receive a safety certificate from the state railway technical inspection.
Starting from the beginning of the year new companies can seek licenses for railway operation in Latvia. (BNS)