• 2004-02-12
Consumer protection authorities in Latvia have fined VP Market, the owner of T-Market and Maxima stores, for a breach in the advertising law. A fine of 25 lats (!!) (37.3 euros) will be imposed on the grocery chain for unfair comparisons in printed media of T-Market products with those from competing supermarkets, Baltic Business News reported. The consumer rights protection bureau stated that the products compared were not identical and therefore a comparison was not possible.

Lasnamae city authorities have denied the German retail giant Lidl permission to build its first supermarket. In recent months, Lidl has asked authorities in eight cities to consider possible lots for Lidl supermarkets. The retailer is reportedly interested in cities and towns with a population of over 10,000 residents.

Russia's Meche Steel Group acquired Nemunas, one of Lithuania's largest metal product manufacturers, which recently went bankrupt. Mechel Trading, a daughter company of MSG registered in Switzerland, took over 100 percent of Nemunas' stock from a Latvian investor and said it was planning to expand its operations at its Petrasiunai plant in Kaunas, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The Latvian textile manufacturer Lauma ended 2003 with an unaudited profit of 2.5 million lats (3.7 million euros) on sales of 19.8 million lats, up 2.6 percent year-on-year. The company announced it planed to invest around 1.5 million lats in buildings, equipment and new sewing machines this year.

Elcoteq Network announced that it intended to double the size of its second plant in Tallinn thanks to strengthening demand. The plant, which has been manufacturing communication network equipment since 2001 and currently has 24,000 square meters of floor space, will be expanded by some 9,000 square meters. A company spokesperson said that construction had already begun and the production in the new premises would start in July 2004.

Tallinna Vesi, the Estonian capital's main water company, said it planned to invest over 160 million kroons (10.2 million euros) in 2004. Production manager Roch Cheroux (photo) said most of the investments would go to renovations and improving pipelines, but that 45 million kroons would be invested in improving water quality. The company will also invest 10 million kroons in creating a new customer information system that would go into operation in 2005.Tallinna Vesi is 50.4 percent owned by U.K.-based United Utilities.

The Estonian furniture manufacturer Askala won the tender among local companies for supplying furniture for a new hotel in Toronto that is managed by Vello Soots, a Canadian-Estonian living in Estonia. The hotel will have 18 floors and 500 rooms, and the project's value is 5 million kroon (320,000 euros).

The consolidation in Lithuania's dairy industry continued last week with the announcement that Zemaitijos Pienas intended to acquire Kelmes Pienine from the investment company Hermis Fondu Valdymas. The board of Zemaitijos Pienas said in a report to the stock exchange that it would ask the competition council for permission to acquire up to 100 percent in the dairy in central Lithuania. However, HFV CEO Nerijus Dagilis denied that there were negotiations on the sale of Kelmes Pienine with Zemaitijos Pienas or any other potential buyer.