‰ The board of seat belt maker Norma is going to propose to shareholders to pay dividends of three kroons per share for 1999. Norma's net profit last year was 107.6 million kroons. According to the board's proposals, a total of 39.6 million kroons ($2.45 million) would be distributed among shareholders. The company will leave 69.98 million kroons undistributed. Norma will pay the income tax due upon the distribution of profit from its equity capital. The regular general meeting of shareholders is set for April 25.
‰ Tallinna Kaubamaja (Tallinn Department Store) is going to propose to shareholders to pay out 6.8 million kroons ($419,300) of its 1999 profit in dividends, that is, one kroon per share. The board is going to propose at the April 19 general meeting of shareholders to put 1,715,239 kroons of the net profit in reserve, distribute 6,788,200 kroons in dividends and retain 68,953,780 kroons. On the meeting's agenda are also amendments to the articles of association and the election of supervisory board members and auditors. The department store made a net profit of 34.3 million kroons last year.
‰ Analysts predict Hansapank Group's first-quarter profit to be approximately 250 million kroons ($15.3 million) and Uhispank's at 40 million kroons. Optiva Bank is expected to post a profit of about five million kroons. The banks' first-quarter results are due out on April 19.
‰ Suprema analyst Paavo Pold said this year's biggest question mark concerned Uhispank's performance, which he said was uncertain with results that are not transparent. In addition, he observed, ABN Amro and Nomura both had revised provisional profit forecasts on the bank downward for this year. Hansapank's earnings forecasts have meanwhile been revised upward. Trigon Capital expects Uhispank to end the year with 105 million kroons in profit.
‰ Latvijas Gaze's (LG, Latvian Gas) council Thursday approved the results of company's performance for 1999, LG council chairman Maris Gailis told reporters. Last year LG's unaudited profit after taxes was 7.03 million lats ($11.91 mln) on a net turnover of 83.69 million lats. In 1999 the company sold to consumers 1.192 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 27,850 tons of liquefied gas. LG transferred 21.53 million lats to the national and municipal budgets last year.
LG shares are quoted on the official list of the Riga Stock Exchange.
The largest shareholders of the gas company include Russia's Gazprom, Itera Latvija and a German concern comprising Ruhrgas and Preussen Elektra companies.
LG has earned over 4 million lats ($6.77 million) of profit on a turnover of 31.9 million lats in the first quarter of this year.
This year the company's turnover increased by 17.4 percent over the 1st quarter of 1999, but the profit growth was small, LG board member Anda Ulpe told reporters Thursday. In the first three months of 2000 LG sold 504.4 million cubic meters of natural gas and 6,270 tons of liquefied gas. Year-on-year natural gas sales grew 19.2 percent for the 1st quarter, and liquefied gas sales rose by 3.4 percent. LG board chairman Adrians Davis told analysts that the results were good, indicating that the company should be able to meet its annual profit target, set at 5.6 million lats.
‰ Vilniaus Bankas, Lithuania's biggest financial institution and the second-largest bank in the Baltics, will pay a 6.4 percent dividend for the year 1999. One share with a face value of ten litas will pay a dividend of 0.64 litas ($0.16), with 9.69 million litas in total earmarked for this purpose. The bank's shareholders approved the dividend payment on Thursday.
Vilniaus Bank has announced an audited net profit of 74.22 million litas for the year 1999. Some 64.52 million litas of the profit will be channeled into the reserve capital. The shareholders also approved the bank's pre-tax and net profit targets for 2000, set at 97 million litas and 89.6 million litas respectively. Net interest income is projected to be 215.3 million litas, up 61 percent from the 1999 figure, and net income is forecast at 354.6 million litas, up 59 percent.
As of March 30, the Swedish bank SEB owned 40.83 percent of shares in Vilniaus Bankas, holders of global depository receipts had 22.95 percent, and Swedfund Financial Markets held 6.39 percent.