Norma’s Q1 sales soar 66 pct

According to preliminary figures, first-quarter sales of the listed Estonian car safety equipment maker Norma amounted to 16 million euros, which marks an increase of 66% year on year. Norma said the result was in line with the forecast published in an announcement on 1 March.
Due to improved productivity, cost saving and decreased provision for doubtful receivables, the group managed to surpass the profit forecast and maintain the operating profit margin at the previous quarter’s level of 11%, the company said.
Good results in the first quarter were achieved primarily due to increased production volumes of Russian car manufacturers who were preparing for a government-initiated support program launched 8 March, Norma said. The figures are unaudited and are not based on reports approved by the management board. Norma will publish preliminary reports on 26 April.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia concluded agreement for protection of investments with Azerbaijan

On Wednesday (7.04.2010), Foreign Minister Urmas Paet discussed the development of Estonia-Azerbaijan economic relations and energy-related co-operation opportunities with the EU with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev signed an agreement for the protection of investments between Estonia and Azerbaijan. In talking about economic relations between the two countries, Foreign Minister Paet stated that Azerbaijan’s economy is important in the Southern Caucasus and co-operation with this economy in the real estate, manufacturing industry and information technology sectors is of interest to Estonian entrepreneurs. “In order to increase the investment confidence of Estonian entrepreneurs, it is important to expand the economic agreement base with Azerbaijan,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

Paet stated that establishing an Azerbaijani embassy in Tallinn would also help to advance relations.

On the topic of energy security, Paet mentioned the importance of Azerbaijan as the leading nation in the Caspian Sea region to ensuring European Union energy supplies. “Azerbaijan’s active participation in implementing the Southern Corridor project’s Nabucco gas pipeline and Odessa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline is very important and highly valued,” stated Paet. “Energy security is not just a strategic issue for the EU, but also for its Eastern Partners,” he added. Azerbaijan is an important energy partner of the EU and exports over 90% of it energy carriers to the EU.

The ministers also discussed Azerbaijan joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which is an important priority for the county. Paet stated that Estonia supports Azerbaijan’s aspirations to join the WTO and expressed hope that Azerbaijan would become a member of the organisation as soon as possible. “Achieving membership in the WTO will also help to intensify Azerbaijan’s economic integration with the WTO,” he added.

In talking about conflicts in the South Caucasus, Paet emphasised the importance of continuing negotiations for finding a peaceful solution.

Paet noted that EU Eastern Partnership offers further opportunities for co-operation. “We hope that Azerbaijan takes advantage of the co-operation opportunities with the European Union made available by Eastern Partnership. Azerbaijani diplomats are welcome to attend seminars at the Estonian School of Diplomacy,” Paet added, talking about Estonia’s contribution to strengthening the institutions of Eastern Partnership partners.

 Source: Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Consumer price index increased in March

According to Statistics Estonia, the consumer price index increased 1.7% in March 2010 compared to March of the previous year and 1.3% compared to February this year.

Goods were 2.3% and services 0.5% more expensive compared to March of the previous year. Food products were 1.0% cheaper and manufactured goods 5.3% more expensive.

Regulated prices of goods and services have risen by 10.3% and non-regulated prices fallen by 0.9% compared to March of the previous year.

Compared to March of the previous year, the index was mainly influenced by the price increase of motor fuel, as well as by more expensive fresh vegetables. The impact of the latter on the index was still three times smaller that that of motor fuel. Compared to the same period of the previous year, the prices of heating oil increased the most (46.7%), followed by fresh vegetables (35.3%) and motor fuel (32.7%). Potatoes were by 22%, white bread by 21.9% and apples by 20.9% cheaper.

Compared to February, the prices of fresh vegetables have increased the most (31%), which also had the biggest impact on the index. The index was more notably influenced also by the price increase of electricity and heat energy. Eggs were 11.8% more expensive than a month ago.

Commodity group Mar ’09 –
Mar ’10, %
Feb ’10 –
Mar ’10, %
TOTAL 1.7 1.3
Food and non-alcoholic beverages -2.1 2.4
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco 2.1 0.1
Clothing and footwear 3.3 2.0
Housing 0.1 1.3
Household goods 0.2 -0.2
Health 1.0 0.1
Transport 11.1 0.9
Communications 3.9 4.5
Recreation and culture -3.3 -0.2
Education 1.2 0.0
Hotels, cafés and restaurants -1.5 0.6
Miscellaneous goods and services 3.0 0.0

 Source: Statistics Estonia