Estonian gas price reaches record

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Dec 16, 1999
By Kairi Kurm

 As a result of higher excise duty on gasoline, Estonian service stations increased the price per liter on Dec.1. The price of gasoline 95-octane reached a record high of 9 kroons ($ 0.58).

According to the government’s plan to follow European Union rules, the excise duty will increase by half a kroon in December 2000 and 0.30 kroon in December 2001, and reach the 4.30 kroon level per liter by the year 2002. Excise duty on diesel fuel will be 4.30 kroons per kilogram.

The price of gasoline 95 for example, which is about 9 kroons per liter at present, includes a 4.15 (3.50 kroons + 18 percent VAT) kroon excise duty.

Toivo Jurgenson, minister of transport and communications, made a proposal to the minister of finance to increase excise duty over a much longer period of time by 0.15 kroon per liter instead of 0.50 kroon, spokesman at the Transport and Communications Ministry Aap Tanav said. Lemmi Oro, head of the tax department at the Ministry of Finance, announced that she did not have any information on the possible decrease of excise duty.

Tanav said that the increase of gasoline price would influence the transport sector the most.

“Higher petrol costs in the transport sector bring along an overall increase of prices. The excise duty will affect over half a million cars,” said Tanav.

Epp Kiviaed, director general at Eesti Statoil, said that the increase of gasoline price had not brought along any noteworthy drop in sales. She is concerned over the possible increase of the illegal market, the size of which according to some estimates is about 20 percent of the fuel market. “The process of increasing excise duty should be slowed down. Excise duty should be smaller in order to receive the predicted sum in the budget,” said Kiviaed.

According to Kaljo Aamer, counselor to the Estonian Oil Association, the exports of gasoline decreased from 200 million kroons to 177 million kroons in the first half of 1999 compared with the same period of last year.

“As a result of a higher excise duty, sales of petrol may decrease and the share of the illegal market may increase as it happened with tobacco and alcohol,� said Aamer. �It is not wise to increase excise too much. The Estonian circumstances and standard of living should be taken into account before adopting European excise norms.”


Eesti Mobiiltelefon is Estonia’s top company

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Dec 09, 1999
By Kairi Kurm

 Telecommunications and transport are the most successful businesses in Estonia according to Estonian business daily Aripaev.

Aripaev ranked Estonia’s 500 largest companies on the basis of their turnover profit, profit margin, return on assets, turnover and profit growths and compiled a list of the top 100 companies according to the results of 1998.

Eesti Mobiiltelefon, Pakterminal and E.O.S. were the most successful companies by Aripaev’s yardstick. Construction company Merko Ehitus, Eesti Telefon and a producer of building material, E- Betoonelement,  were the runner-ups.

EMT held third position in Aripaev ‘s top 100 list last year. One of  the reasons behind the company’s fast development is the desire of  Estonians to try new things, chairman of the board of EMT Peep Aavikso told to Aripaev.

Pakterminal and E.O.S., both of which ship imported Russian oil through Estonia to Western countries, have benefited from increased transit trade through Estonia, the business daily reported. E.O.S. moved to the third place from its previous 272nd slot in Aripaev’s ranking, thanks to the increase of profits by 118 million kroons ($7.65 million). The company’s management is planning to double its turnover and step up next to the market leader Pakterminal.

Pakterminal with its 551 million kroon profit was the largest company in terms of profit and accounted for 17 percent of the total profit of Estonia’s 100 largest companies. Two Eesti Telekom subsidiaries, EMT and Eesti Telefon, were the other big profit makers with 390 million kroons and 254 million kroons respectively. Pakterminal also had the highest profit margin (the proportion of profit to turnover), which was 58 percent.

State electricity producer Eesti Energia with its 3.75 billion kroon turnover was the largest company in terms of turnover in 1998. Eesti Energia has held the leading position in the turnover list since 1993 when Aripaev started ranking companies. The total turnover of the top 10 companies in the turnover list (15.6 billion kroons) is approximately 30 percent of the total turnover of all 100 companies.

Shipping company Eesti Merelaevandus, which placed in eighth position in the overall list, had the fastest profit growth (531 million kroons).


Microlink launches a new Internet portal in Latvia and Estonia

The Baltic Times, TALLINN
Dec 02, 1999
By Kairi Kurm

 Microlink, the biggest information technology concern in the Baltics, merged its Internet-related subsidiaries in Latvia and Estonia under the name DELFI on Nov. 23 and launched two new Internet portals: in Estonia and in Latvia. A Lithuanian-language Delfi portal will be opened next year after Microlink has opened its representation in Lithuania.

“In the near term we plan to consolidate our position as the number one source of news and information on the Estonian Internet market,” said David Cauthery, new media director at Delfi. “We will offer more customization features and we hope my Delfi will grow to become an important platform from which people launch their Internet journeys. Our goals in Latvia are much the same.”

Both the Estonian and Latvian portals are replacing earlier portals but include more opportunities. is the offspring of and Both news sites include a searchable database, catalog system, e-commerce, free e-mail and a possibility to make one’s own portal site, the first service of that kind in the Baltics. One of the most popular changes in is the opportunity to comment on content. has two competitors in Estonia: and belongs to the media group Ekspress Group and to the computer company XXL.EE, formerly Pennu Computer Systems. Tele2, an Internet and Cable TV services provider in Estonia, is planning to launch a new portal,, which is an Estonian version of the Swedish

Cauthery said there is no competition on the market currently, but he is looking for another powerful player.

“The more content available the larger and faster the market will grow. I feel we offer a unique product which is not easily copied,” said Cauthery.

According to Cauthery, serves 15,000 pages a day, 12,000 to 13,000 pages and Delfi about 120,000 pages.