Norma to disappear from Tallinn stock exchange

Although it is not by any means a done deal, the intention of Norma’s parent group Autoliv to buy out small shareholders from Norma shows that another company could soon be delisted from Tallinn Stock Exchange.

Today’s Äripäev writes that Autoliv announced that its offer applies only if it manages to get 90% of shares of Norma. It already owns 51% of the company  and claims that it has agreement to acquire another 26%, bringing the level to 77%.
At present Autoliv owns 51% of the company, foreign investor own 31.8% and Estonian investors own 17.2%.

Small shareholders who own about 200 million kroons worth of Norma shares claim that Autoliv offer of 92.3 kroons a share is too low, especially since Norma has more than 600 million kroons in cash that Autoliv needs to buy the outstanding shares. In other words, Autoliv is buying Norma for Norma’s own money.

Another reason why small shareholders are angry is that Norma’s management board has proposed not to pay out any dividends for last year. Norma has been one of the best dividend payers on the Tallinn Stock Exchange.

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Riga to fight crisis with Go Blonde festival

On May 29, tens of thousands of blondes will parade through the Latvian capital of Riga, as part of the city’s annual Go Blonde festival. The event, originally conceived to uplift the public mood during the country’s economic crisis is rapidly becoming a major tourist attraction for the whole region, and is expected to generate significant donations for Latvian child charity. 

Marika Ģederte, President of the Latvian Association of Blondes, organiser of the event: “Blondes in Latvia are unique. Last year’s parade, this year’s festival and next year’s carnival have and will make a substantial contribution toward Latvia’s tourism sector. Go Blonde will soon be as important a project for Latvia as the carnivals in Brazil and Italy which are of great interest to thousands of tourists.”

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Tallinn Water profit margin at 60%!

The listed Estonian water utility company Tallinna Vesi has posted a net profit of 339.9 million kroons (EUR 21.7 mln) for 2009, which marks an increase of 14.9 percent over the 296 million kroons netted in 2008.
The company’s operating profit margin in 2009 was 59.8%, up from 56.3% in 2008. Profit before taxes in the twelve months of 2009 was 401.1 million kroons, 10.7% higher than in 2008.
Total sales of Tallinna Vesi grew 7.3% year on year to 772.4 million kroons. Sales of water and wastewater treatment totalled 707.4 million kroons, a 7.5% increase compared to 2008.
Operating profit from the company’s main business activity, sales of water and wastewater, increased 9.8% year on year to 414.4 million kroons.
Investments in fixed assets made during 2009 totalled 251.6 million kroons. The company said it continues to maintain its leverage level within the target range of 50%, with the ratio of total liabilities to total capital standing at 48.1% as of 31 December 2009. Long-term liabilities stood at 1.176 billion kroons at the end of December.
The number of employees of Tallinna Vesi at year-end was 336, compared with 326 at the end of 2008.
Net profit in the final quarter of the year grew 35.2% over the respective period of 2008 to 125.5 million kroons.
Tallinna Vesi’s water and sewerage tariffs decreased by 0.9% in 2010, and according to the services agreement between the company and the city of Tallinn there will not be any real tariff increase until the end of the contract period in 2020 in the main service area, the company said.
As of 31 December 2009, United Utilities BV held 35.3% of the shares of Tallinna Vesi, the City of Tallinn held 34.7% and Credit Suisse Securities Ltd Prime Brokerage, 5.67%.

Source: Estonian Review

Ports handle 21 pct more goods in January

As many as 3.68 million tons of goods were loaded and unloaded at Estonian ports in January, 21% more than in the same month a year ago, Statistics Estonia said. The figure is 3% lower than in December.
The amount of goods loaded was 2.97 million tons and the amount of goods unloaded 708 200 tons in January, marking an increase of respectively 21% and 22% compared with January 2009.
In December, almost three million tons of goods were loaded and 807 000 tons unloaded at Estonian ports.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia will join OECD during next few months

Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurría confirmed in his meeting with Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Paris that the decision to accept Estonia as a member of the OECD would be made this spring. Paet and Gurría signed the agreement of privileges and immunities between Estonia and the OECD.
Foreign Minister Paet said that the invitation to join the OECD is high recognition of Estonia’s development thus far. “The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an expert centre that analyses the economy and the development of society. For Estonia, joining the OECD is a chance to share world-class expert information and contribute to this information with our own experiences,” he said.
The agreement of privileges and immunities signed in Paris today is based on OECD standards and guarantees the autonomy of OECD analyses. “Estonia and the other OECD nations confirm that they will ensure the independent work of the organisation’s experts, free of interference,” Paet said, explaining the content of the agreement that is a requirement for joining the organisation.
Paet noted that the OECD has already compiled many high-level analyses about Estonia that have been very useful. “For example, the first economic review of Estonia published in 2009 attracted a lot of attention and inspired discussions on Estonia’s economic policy,” said Paet. “Estonia is a like-minded state to the other OECD members, and the organisation’s goals are also important to us: economic growth, raising the standard of living, and helping the development of global trade,” stressed the Estonian foreign minister.
The OECD is a forum for industrially developed democratic nations which is based in Paris. It was established by nineteen nations on 30 September 1961, and its predecessor was the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which was created after World War II to administer American and Canadian aid for rebuilding Europe (the Marshall Plan). In January of 2010 Chile also signed an accession agreement with the OECD and will become a full member like Estonia once the domestic proceedings end.
Estonia was invited to begin accession negotiations with the OECD in 2007. After its signing, the agreement of privileges and immunities must be ratified by the Riigikogu.

Source: Estonian Review

The production of electricity and heat is increasing

According to Statistics Estonia, in January 2010 the production of industrial enterprises was equal to the production in January of the previous year. The growth in the energy production was the main factor causing the increase in the production, which had been declining since the respective month of the previous year, because the production of manufacturing decreased in comparison with January of the previous year.

In January 2010 compared to January 2009, the production of electricity increased 19%, the production of heat — 31%. The increase in energy production was caused mostly by a lower outdoor temperature and a rising demand of energy induced from it. The exports of electricity rose slightly too.

In January 2010 the production in manufacturing decreased 3% compared to January of the previous year. When in total of  2009 compared to the previous year, the production decreased in all branches of manufacturing, then in January the differences between branches of industry were large. The production of wearing apparel, chemical and metal products, machinery and equipment fell more than 20%. The production of food, beverages, building materials and electrical equipment decreased too. The main reason causing the decline was a continually insufficient demand. However, the manufacturing of metals and motor vehicles rose more than twice. Due to the small share in total manufacturing these branches did not affect the production essentially. The branches holding a big share, as manufacturing of electronic products, rose 30%, the manufacturing of wood — 15%, mainly due to the increase of exports. The production increased also in the manufacturing of leather, refined petroleum, pharmaceutical and plastic products.

In January 2010 compared to December 2009, the seasonally adjusted industrial production increased 4.5%.

The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – January 2010 (2005 = 100)

Diagram: The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing,  January 2000 – January 2010

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Look at the table “Change in volume index of industrial production, January 2010 (percentage)” from the original source