Company briefs - 2004-01-15

  • 2004-01-15
Latvia's national airline AirBaltic carried 347,966 passengers in 2003, up 33 percent on 2002. Company President Bertold Flick said earlier that the expanded route network, as well as low price offers and one-way ticket sales, were the main reasons behind the growth. In 2002 AirBaltic carried 262,212 passengers, an increase of 5.4 percent year-on-year.

The Estonian Brewers' Association said that buying up empty beer cans could turn into a problem after accession to the EU, as most canned beer is taken out of the country to Finland. Under current regulations failure to meet the obligation of collecting metal beer cans will result in huge fines to the brewers. As a result the association has asked the Environment Ministry to reduce the beer can collection obligation from the required 60 percent to 20 percent, as empty beer cans taken out of the country cannot be collected. What's more, Estonians themselves consume canned beer on a modest scale. For 2004, brewers are forecasting domestic consumption at 28 million cans, but the presumable total sale of canned beer is 138 million units during the year. Of this the law compels brewers to buy up 60 percent of the total, or 82.6 million cans.

The Lithuanian Competition Council has allowed MG Baltic, an industrial and trade conglomerate, to acquire LNK, one of the largest commercial TV channels in the country, from the Swedish media group Bonnier. MG Baltic also owns a majority stake in the ELTA news agency.
Latvia's Ventspils Nafta oil terminal handled 10.7 million tons of oil and oil products last year, a fall of 22.5 percent year-on-year. The crude oil pipeline from Russia to Ventspils was closed all year round in 2003, meaning all supplies came via rail. Rail supplies as a result were up 68 percent year-on-year. In 2002 the terminal handled 13.8 million tons of crude oil and oil products.

Cargo turnover at Riga Free Port reached 21.7 million tons in 2003, up 20 percent in a year. Bulk cargo comprised 46.5 percent of the total and amounted to 9.8 million tons. The volume of coal shipments increased 110 percent year-on-year, reaching 5.2 million tons.

The Estonian national airline Estonian Air announced that it carried 410,652 passengers in 2003, or 30 percent more than in 2002. The airline reported that its 12 regular routes carried 388,705 passengers. The carrier added that four of its 12 routes - Paris, Oslo, Berlin and Amsterdam - were opened in 2003.

Linstow Varner, the majority shareholder of Latvia's Centrs shopping mall in Riga's Old Town, has boosted its share in the mall by 4.09 percent in a compulsory buy-out offer. The company started buying the shares in November last year, with the offer running six weeks. The Norwegian-owned Linstow Varner, which decided to change the company into a closed-stock company, thereby recalling all publicly circulating stocks, now holds 97.7 percent of Centrs.

Nokia still remains the most popular mobile telephone among LMT clients, with 59.18 percent of LMT customers carrying Nokias early this January, the company reported. At the beginning of 2003, Nokia phones were used by 64.35 percent of LMT clients, meaning the percentage of Nokia mobile phone users actually fell over the year. Siemens has firmly established itself as the runner-up and is now used by 18.82 percent of LMT clients, up 3.4 percentage points from the year before. Samsung is in the third place with 11.61 percent.

Latvia's exclusive soap company Stendera Ziepju Fabrika said it planned to open 11 new outlets by the end of this year, including seven in Germany. The company currently operates 29 stores and expects to boost 2004 turnover by 50 to 60 percent. Company director Janis Berzins said that the stores in Germany would be managed under franchise agreements. The first store in Germany should open in Hilden in early February, followed by stores in Hagen and Essen.