Company briefs - 2003-12-18

  • 2003-12-18
The world's third-largest forestry group StoraEnso announced plans to invest 780 million kroons (50 million euros) into the Baltics. Seppo Vainoi, Baltic vice president of StoraEnso, said that the company would seek to expand its production capacity in sawmills and wood processing facilities to reach 1.8 million cubic meters in the Baltic states by 2006. Of the total amount proposed, 21 million euros would be invested into the construction of a sawmill in Alytus, Lithuania.

Riga Port may be prohibited by the EU from handling food cargo as it has delayed the construction of a EU complaint and customs checkpoint. The Latvian State Revenue Service stressed that Riga Port has not even announced a tender for the project and that customs checkpoints were mainly being built in railway border posts with Russia and Belarus, along with the ports of Liepaja and Ventspils. Riga Port must meet new EU standards by May 1, 2004, when Latvia joins the European bloc.

The Russian papers Vedomosti and Kommersant reported that oil giant Lukoil - in addition to leaving the Czech marked, as announced on Dec. 15 - may also soon sell its retail operations in Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Bulgaria. The company denied having such plans.

The Lithuanian government has decided to restructure the Ignalina nuclear power plant as a closed limited liability company to increase the efficiency of the facility's management and create equal conditions across the energy market. The state will function as the only owner of the power plant.

Latvia will repay the 1.6 million lat (2.4 million euro) debt owed by the country's largest pharmaceutical maker, Grindeks, to the World Bank. The privatization agency had applied to the state support supervision commission, which decided to handle the Grindeks' debt and required that the company turn over a schedule for repayment. Grindeks employs 500 people, has an annual turnover of 18 million lats and pays approximately 1 million lats in taxes to the state.

The Lithuanian garage door manufacturer Ryterna launched a 180,000 litas (52,000 euro) factory in the Russian city of Tver. Ryterna deputy CEO Ugnius Motiejunas explained that the decision to expand eastward was driven by an increase in demand for the company's products in Russia. In the first three quarters of this year, the manufacturer's sales reached 14.5 million litas, a 20 percent increase year-on-year.

On Dec. 15 the IT group MicroLink announced that it was selling 100 percent of the shares of its Delfi Internet portals in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Norwegian media and directory publishing company Findexa for 80 million kroons (5.1 million euros). Magnus Sonnorp, Findexa's executive vice president, said that the investors planned to further strengthen Delft's presence in the Baltics. Delfi is already the most popular Internet portal in the Baltic region, according to Sonnorp.

The economics committee of the Lithuanian Parliament decided on Dec. 15 to recommend that the government refrain from proceeding with the privatization of Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai, the eastern section of the national electricity grid. Vaclovas Karbauskis, chairman of the parliamentary committee, said that the government needed to first think through what would happen if the grid were sold to Estonians. Estonia's state-run energy company Eesti Energia is the only remaining bidder for the 71.35 percent stake in RST.

Competing against names such as Danone, Pepsico, Amcor and Teich, the Latvian printing house S&G and the soft drink producer Gutta received an award for their labeling practices in a European competition from plastic film producer ExxonMobil Chemical Films Europe.