In Brief - 2003-09-04

  • 2003-09-04
ThroughPUT soaring at refinery
Mazeikiu Nafta has raised volumes of oil processing by 36.5 percent
year-on-year to 726,000 tons in July, hitting a new monthly processing
record of several years.
Processing of crude reached 3.6 million tons in the first half of 2003,
shrinking by 2.9 percent compared with the same period of last year, the
company announced. Record processing in July did not signify the intentions
of Yukos, which controls the refinery, to pursue further growth in
processing at the refinery, said Giedrius Karkosas, head of communications
department of the oil concern.
"Experts make calculations of potential sales of products for a particular
month and come out with the most efficient or profitable volume. We do not
have any problems with the supply of crude," Karsokas said.
In July 2002 Mazeikiu Nafta processed 532,000 tons of crude, with
seven-month processing coming in at 3.7 million tons. The lag behind last
year's figure is due to a temporary shutdown of the refinery in the first
half of 2003.
After several years of losses, Mazeikiu Nafta posted net earnings of 74
million litas (21.5 million euros) under U.S. GAAP in the first half of
2003. By comparison, for the full year of 2002 the reported losses were
158.1 million litas under Lithuanian accounting principles. (BNS)

First private shale miner licensed
Estonia's Environment Ministry has granted mining rights to Merko
Kaevandused to excavate oil shale in East Virumaa county until 2028.
Merko Mining, which is a subsidiary of Estonia's largest construction
company Merko Ehitus, is the first private company to acquire oil shale
mining rights in Estonia.
Merko has announced it would invest 80 million (5 million euros) - 150
million kroons in the mine.
Under the license conditions, the company must excavate no less than 400,000
tons and no more than 1 million tons annually.
Because the state does not allow more than one permit per mining site, the
state-owned oil shale mining company Eesti Polevkivi will lose its mining
rights for the East Virumaa site.
Merko plans to start mining within two years. Oil shale is used as a fuel
and as raw material in the chemical industry. It is the main fuel used in
generating electrical power in Estonia. (Baltic Business News)

Kalev boosting market dominance
The market share of the Estonian sweets maker AS Kalev was 54.5 percent by
volume at the end of January 2003, a 6.2 percent increase over the previous
period, a survey by AC Nielsen indicated.
Kalev's market share by volume in the chocolate confectionery group grew 2.8
percent to 58.4 percent.
Total confectionery sales by Kalev grew about 2 percent over the previous
comparable period to 7,130 tons in the financial year ending June 30, 2003,
Kalev said.
Sales on the domestic market made up 80 percent and exports 20 percent of
total sales. As before, the main export markets for Kalev were Latvia and
Ukraine. (BNS)

Fish processor preparing for EU
Latvia's largest fish processing company Brivais Vilnis has launched a
massive modernization project at its main plant and has started doing
business in the timber processing industry, reported the company.
Brivais Vilnis plans to invest around $700,000 toward modernization of its
fish processing plant and launch two new sprat production lines and
automatic fish sorting equipment by March next year, the company announced.
The plan should raise production capacity by 50 percent to 7 million cans a
month and also boost turnover.
The company also reported that its new smoking equipment would also allow to
produce various types of products for various clients with different levels
of benzopirene in smoked sprats. Seventy percent of the company's products
are sold on East European markets.
The fishery has decided to also draw its attention to timber processing,
which will raise the company's value, said Board Chairman Igors Surkovs.
Brivais Vilnis, which until now has managed the local port, produced thermal
energy and managed the town's water purification systems, will soon start
offering timber-processing services. The new Italian airing equipment is to
be installed in September.
The company plans to develop a multisector service center on both banks of
the Salaca River, with its port piers, customs zones and production
facilities. (BNS)

KALININGRAD to launch Hummer assembly line
General Motors will have its Hummer H2 off-road vehicles assembled at the
Avtotor car factory in Kaliningrad, Russia's Baltic enclave.
General Motors CIS and Avtotor, which already assembles cars for BMW and
KIA, signed a general agreement in the presence of Ilya Klebanov, the
Russian industry and science minister, and Kaliningrad Governor Vladimir
Yegorov, during the Moscow motor show on Aug. 28.
Hummer cars are not officially imported to Russia, but the vehicles that
enter the country cost over $100,000. Assembly of off-road vehicles in
Russia will allow lowering the prices by 10 percent - 15 percent.
Since opening in May 1997 until 2002, Avtotor has assembled 23,000 cars,
including 6,000 BMWs (assembly started in 1999).
Some 4,200 KIA cars assembled in Russia were sold on the Russian market last
year, an increase of 60 percent year-on-year. (BNS)