Lithuania to cut parental-leave benefits

Lithuanian lawmakers approved plans to reduce parental-leave benefits to help narrow the budget deficit.

The legislation passed by 57 votes to 33, with 15 abstentions, according to a vote count on parliament’s website.

The World Bank has called on Lithuania to cut parental benefits, calling them the most generous in the European Union. The Baltic nation provides 90 percent of full pay for mothers and fathers in their first year of leave and 75 percent in the second year.

From July 2011, parents who take one year of leave will get 100 percent of their pay. For those who opt to stay with children for two years, benefits will be reduced to 70 percent in the first year and to 40 percent in the second year.

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Estonian Air opens Tallinn Athens route

 Starting from 5 July 2010, Estonian Air will launch a new seasonal air link between Tallinn and Athens. Estonian Air will operate the route once a week on Mondays, departing from Tallinn at 12:10 am and from Athens at 16:40 local time. The route will be operated until 16 August 2010.

Named after the goddess Athena, the capital of Greece – Athens – is a great destination for those who are interested in history, architecture and culture. Athens is a convenient place form where to travel forward to the picturesque Greece islands.

One-way fares from Athens, if purchased from http://www.estonian-air.com, start from 123 EUR including all fees and taxes, subject to availability.

Source: Estonian Air

Fuel trader Olerex increases earnings by 27 pct

The Estonian equity fuel trader Olerex made a profit of 18.9 million kroons (EUR 1.21 mln) in 2009, an increase of 26.7% over the preceding year.
Antti Moppel, marketing chief of Olerex, said in his comments to BNS that profit grew thanks to greater efficiency and increase of market share.
As a result of the cheapening of oil products on the world market the turnover of Olerex decreased 20.3% in comparison with 2008 to 1.2 billion kroons. Of the 2009 turnover, 737 million kroons was the result of wholesale operations, 384 million kroons of the operations of filling stations and 106.8 million kroons of the operation of stores.
During the year Olerex added three new filling stations to its chain and closed one station. It had 42 stations across Estonia at the time of reporting.
Olerex employed 221 people and its labour costs last year amounted to 40.2 million kroons.
The profit of 2009 was retained and directed toward expanding the sales network. Undistributed profit of the company as of year-end was 29.6 million kroons.

Source: Estonian Review

Maag dairy plans a 520 mEEK sales revenue

The Estonian dairy company AS Maag Piimatoostus earned a profit of 33.4 million kroons (EUR 2.13 mln) on sales of 513 million kroons in 2009, with sales growing 27% and profit 5% compared to 2008.
Of sales, production of other dairy products, including butter, gave 62%, processing of raw milk 23%, production of cheese and curds 11%, production of ice cream 2% and production of ready made foods 2%, it appears from the annual report. Eighty-eight percent of revenue was generated in Estonia and the rest mainly in Latvia and Lithuania.
Investments in fixed assets during the reporting period totalled 21.6 million kroons, of which 19.7 million kroons was invested in machinery and equipment. The average number of employees of Maag Piimatoostus last year was 263 and wage costs totalled 35.6 million kroons.
The company plans its sales revenue this year to cross the 520 million kroon mark. Undistributed profit as of year-end stood at 75.3 million kroons.

Source: Estonian Review

Mobile operator EMT boosts FY sales to 2.2 Mln EUR

Sales by the Estonian mobile communications company AS EMT in 2009 climbed 2.2% from the preceding year to 3.1 billion kroons (EUR 200 mln) and the company earned a net profit of 512.1 million kroons. Operating profit of EMT dropped 24.5% year on year to 860.8 million kroons. Net profit was smaller by 46.2% or 440 million kroons as a result of income tax liabilities arising from a bigger dividend, EMT said in its annual report.
EMT paid out 1.43 billion kroons in dividends for 2008, compared with 820 million kroons for 2007.
Undistributed profit of EMT as of Dec. 31, 2009 totalled 739.6 million kroons. Of that the company intends to pay out 440 million kroons in dividends this year. After that there will be 300 million kroons on retained earnings left.
EMT’s market share remained at 47% last year and the number of subscribers was 486 000. The number of clients of EMT’s prepaid service dropped by 12 000 during the year to 280 000.
Investments in mobile network quality and product development by EMT last year amounted to 255 million kroons.
The Swedish Teliasonera group at the beginning of this year became the sole owner of Eesti Telekom, the parent company of EMT and the landline service provider Elion.

Source: Estonian Review

Estonia switched to digital television

Leaders of Estonian television stations and members of the digital distribution government committee Thursday morning at 5 a.m. turned off old analogue television transmitters and the whole country switched to digital program distribution.
According to the TNS Emor pollster, 44 000 households or 8% of all households still viewed analogue television in Estonia at the beginning of June.
From 1 July all Estonian television transmitters will stop transmitting analogue television and television programs can only be viewed digitally via an ordinary aerial. All those who received the television picture by an ordinary aerial and saw only three Estonian television channels until the present must now acquire a digibox or a new digital television in order to view programs. It is not necessary to accede to any service provider for digital reception of the free Estonian television channels (ETV, Kanal 2, TV3, ETV2, Kanal 11).

Source: Estonian Review

High ranking in digital economy scoreboard

Estonia was ranked 25th on the digital economy scoreboard for 2010 drawn up by The Economist magazine and IBM, down from 24th place in the survey for the previous year. It still occupies the highest place among the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in the table ranking 70 states.
Compared with 2009, Estonia dropped lower in categories such as business environment, technology infrastructure and government policy, IBM Eesti said. “The top performers in the 2010 digital economy rankings – led this year by Sweden, which dislodged the perennial e-readiness leader, Denmark, 2nd, by a narrow margin – demonstrate a high degree of connectivity and score well on all fronts, from the quality of their business and legal environments to social and cultural drivers of digital progress, the existence of sound public policy on ICT, and the levels at which consumers and businesses actually use digital services,” authors of the survey said.
The USA ranked third and Finland fourth. Of countries of Central and Eastern Europe, after Estonia came Slovenia in 29th place, the Czech Republic in 31st, Lithuania in 34th, Hungary in 35th and Latvia in 37th place.
“The digital economy scoreboard, which earlier used to be known as e-readiness scoreboard, is good feedback to those who feel that Estonia does not have a lot left to aspire to in the domain of information and communication technology. We do stand out in the context of Central and Eastern Europe, but looking at the survey as a whole the public has more reason to speak about the leap upwards by Finland, Japan and South Korea – these countries improved their standing in the table by six notches,” said Kersti Ordlik, chief of marketing and communications at IMB Eesti.
On a ten-point scale, Estonia scored 7.06 points overall, getting 6.40 for connectivity, 7.16 for business environment, 6.77 for social and cultural environment, 8.40 for legal environment, 7.98 for government policy and vision and for 6.60 consumer and business adoption in the 2010 survey.

Source: Estonian Review