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WEEK 28th 2004

Friday, the 9th of July, 2004

Fitch increased Latvia's credit rating
International credit ratings agency Fitch increased Latvia's long-term credit rating from BBB+ to A-. These ratings are also increased for Estonia (A), Lithuania (A-) and Slovenia (A+). Now Latvian rating is higher than rating of some other new EU member-states. Fitch also forecast, that Latvia could introduce euros in 2008, and its credit rating could be significantly increased.

Licence for oil
On July 8 the Danish company Odin Energy received the first exclusive licence for extraction of oil in Latvia's territory, in the shelves of the Baltic Sea. The similar permissions will be issued to Latvian Investments and Development Agency. It is involved in oil extraction project as a holder of 10% of Odin Energy. During five years the company will be able to examine the area. It will be able to extract oil during 30 years.
Kommersant Baltic Daily

Wednesday, the 7th of July, 2004

Allow amalgamation of Spilva and Orkla AB
Latvian Competition Council decided to allow amalgamation of Latvian fruits and vegetables processing company Spilva and Swedish company Orkla AB. The president of Spilva, Lolita Bemhena, said that afterwards Spilva would continue its work. The enterprise will become a part of one of the largest food product companies group in Northern Europe, will have access to its know-how, training possibilities and financial resources. Therefore, productivity of the company will increase. In its turn, Orkla AB wishes to have a stable platform for its work in Latvia.
Dienas Bizness

Tuesday, the 6th of July, 2004

We are on fifth place according to unemployment level
According to the information of Eurostat, in May 2004 Latvia was on the fifth place among other EU-countries according to the level of unemployment. In Latvia this index is 10.6%, by 0.1% less than in April. Poland has the highest level of unemployment, 18.9%. In Slovakia it is 16.4%, in Lithuania 11.5% and in Spain 11.1%. The lowest is in Cyprus and Luxembourg, 4.2%. The average index in the EU is 9%.

Monday, the 5th of July, 2004

Leaders in profit are telecommunication companies
Three Latvian enterprises, which earn more than others, are telecommunication companies: Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, Lattelekom and Tele2. In 2003 they earned EUR 63.6 million, EUR 40.9 million and EUR 25 million respectively. Last year Latvian banks earned EUR 110.61 millions in total. In the list of the leaders Hansabanka has the fourth place (after Tele2) with EUR 22.01 million, state forest management company Latvijas Valsts Mezi the fifth place, EUR 20.58 million, Latvijas Unibanka the seventh place, EUR 19.69 million, and Parex Banka the eighth, EUR 20.18 million.
Dienas Bizness

High level of shadow economy in Latvia
According to the data of the European Commission, Latvia has one of the highest levels of specific weight of shadow economy among the EU-states. Shadow economy constitutes 18% of GDP. It was revealed that in many European countries, especially in new EU member-states, the taxes are not paid for quite a significant part of economic activities. Besides Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy and Greece are in similar situation. The smallest specific weight of shadow economy is in Austria, Netherlands and the UK (1.5-2%). Most often taxes are not paid in construction sphere, as well as in agriculture.

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