Tallinn stock exchange turnover on Friday EUR 220,000

The Tallinn stock exchange saw a positive trading day on Friday as the OMXT index moved up 0.32 percent to 881.56 points and turnover from 100 transactions totalled 219,078 euros.

The total turnover was quite small but most names saw trades carried out with their shares. Olympic and Kaubamaja moved up, while Tallink moved slightly downward. Merko Ehitus, which produced a very small turnover, moved up nearly 3 percent.

Olympic Entertainment Group rose 1.13 percent to 1.79 euros as turnover from 32 trades was 70,546 euros. Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp climbed 0.46 percent to 6.58 euros as 51,380 euros’ worth of shares changed hands in seven transactions.

Source: BNS

Measuring blood pressure with 3D images

The University of Tartu and SEB Vega fund divided 20 100 euros between four teams for developing knowledge-intensive ideas. The funding helps to develop, for example, an automatic system for measuring blood pressure in real-time and a security system which makes keys and smart cards a thing of the past.

There were ten ideas in the final round and the four with the greatest business potential received funding.  According to chair of the Vega fund jury and UT Vice Rector for Development Erik Puura, the chosen projects are all in different stages. “Some are only starting their project and some need resources for the final development of the product. The Vega fund’s goal is to give a push at the right time and hope that the grant helps to achieve maximum results,” said Puura.

Member of the jury, the Head of Business Innovation at SEB Mart Maasik said the jury mainly evaluated two criteria: “Firstly, we had to believe that the people behind the idea can carry it out and, secondly, that the team had considered the business model and the business value of the idea.”

The jury admitted that although the projects were very research-based, there was not much focus on the business value of the idea. This is an aspect which needs developing and is expected from future Vega fund applicants.

The biggest grant of the fourth round of the Vega fund, 8500 euros, went to the project “CrystalSpace”, which is intended for industrial and space technology enterprises. The team develops special purpose cameras to be used on satellites or in other extreme conditions, for example, in vacuum. The camera design is based on the solution used for Estonia’s first student satellite EstCube-1.

4000 euros was given to the team “3D filament”. They are developing the most durable and strongest polymer material to use in 3D printers. What sets them apart from competitors is the product’s lower price and weight, as less material is needed for 3D printing.

Another 4000 euro grant was given to “Bloodflow”. The project’s team is developing a sensor which provides a simple and automatic system to measure systolic and diastolic blood pressure in real-time. The method is based on 3D imaging of blood vessels.

According to Mart Maasik, “Bloodflow” was still in the start-up phase but they needed a push to take the first step. “Even though they are only starting, they demonstrated the size of their market and business the best,” Maasik acknowledged the potential of the team and encouraged others to submit so to say raw research-based business ideas to the contest. “Not knowing the answers to several questions in the initial phase of the idea is temporary. You need to have the courage to try. Not all questions have answers when the idea is still fresh. These will come in time and there will be less uncertainty. The first step is to overcome insecurity, be creative and ambitious,” said Maasik and added that strong teams will find funding.

3600 euros went to support the project “OpenID” which aims to make people’s entry into buildings automatic, secure and convenient. For this, the team needs to develop a security system which does not require the use of keys and key cards.

The Vega fund (vega.ut.ee), created by the SEB Bank and the University of Tartu Idea Lab, is the first funding facility for knowledge-intensive ideas. Through the fund, the SEB Bank gives 150,000 euros over a period of three years to support the transfer of innovative solutions to everyday use.



Foreign visitors spent 400 mEUR in Estonia in 3Q

A record number of visitors from abroad came to Estonia in the third quarter, with 2.1 million visits, which is 4% more than in the third quarter of last year. There were one third more visitors from Asian countries and they accounted for 6% of all visitors, their largest share ever registered. There were slightly fewer visitors from Finland than a year earlier and they accounted for one third of the total, which is the smallest share in recent years. The number of Russian residents visiting Estonia also continued to decline, and there were 14% fewer such visits in the third quarter of this year than in the same quarter of last year. At the same time there were increased numbers of visitors from Germany, Spain, Latvia and the USA.

In all, 43% of the visitors to Estonia stayed for more than one day, and their average stay was five days. It is estimated that multi-day visitors spent a total of 250 million euros, and single-day visitors spent 150 million euros.

Estonian residents made 1.1 million visits to foreign countries in the quarter, which was 1% more than a year earlier1. Three quarters of those visits were made to the European Union. People from Estonia travelled more to holiday destinations like Greece, Turkey, Italy and Croatia, but the numbers going to Portugal fell by 38%, to Hungary by 25%, and to Finland by 11%. There were 3% more multi-day visits, but their average length remained constant at 4.6 days. Single-day visits accounted for 27% of the total, and there were 2% fewer such visits than in the third quarter of last year. Visitors from Estonia to foreign countries spent an estimated 185 million euros.

1 The number of trips abroad and the number of visits to foreign countries are not the same, as one trip abroad may include visits to several different countries.

The movement of travellers has a noticeable effect on the export and import of travel services in the Estonian balance of payments, which will be published on 9 December.

Source: Bank of Estonia / EESTI PANK

Tallink sells ship for 91 million euros

Tallink has signed a contract to sell one of its largest ships, the Superstar, for 91.5 million euros, to a company operating in the Mediterranean. The ship will be delivered in 2017, once Tallink has a new ship, currently being constructed in Turu, Finland.

Built in Italy, the Superstar began life in 2008, costing the company 120 million euros. It has serviced the Tallinn-Helsinki route ever since.

Tallink’s CEO Janek Stalmeister said nothing will change as the Superstar will continue with the same time schedule and team until the new ship has been delivered to Tallink.

In February 2015, Tallink placed an order for an LNG-powered ferry, which should be complete at the beginning of 2017. The cost is around 230 million euros.

The new vessel will carry 2,800 passengers, 720 more than the Superstar, and is 37 meters longer at 212 meters. Both can travel at a maximum speed of 27 knots.

Source: ERR


Tallinn moves forward with mega hospital plan

The Tallinn City Council approved a bill to obligate the City Government to draw up a plan for the construction of the new Tallinn Hospital by the second quarter of 2016.

The plan sees a construction of a 700-bed hospital in an area between Lasnamäe and Maarjamäe districts. The central hospitals in Tallinn will also be united under one foundation, also named the Tallinn Hospital.

The aim of the project is to improve quality and availability of healthcare in Tallinn and in north Estonia.

Once complete the hospital should be Estonia’s largest, and would only be rivaled by the University Hospital complex in Tartu.

However, the hospital is unlikely to open its doors before 2025.

Source: ERR


Estonia ranks high for English proficiency

EF Education First released today the 5th annual edition of EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills. Estonia occupies a respectable seventh place out of 70 countries and is classified as having a very high proficiency level.

Sweden ranks first for English skills, closely followed by the Netherlands and other other Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway and Finland. Slovenia is sixth and Estonia seventh. It’s the Arab countries and Cambodia that come in last.

Compared to last year, both Estonia’s ranking and total score have improved. Yet it is still lacking from repeating its best ever fourth place.

Estonia stands out in the index for the slightly better language skills of the male population. In other countries, women tend to have the upper hand when it comes to speaking English.

This fifth edition of the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) ranks 70 countries and territories based on test data from more than 910,000 adults who took online English tests in 2014.

According to the test results, the gap between the highest and lowest proficiency countries has widened, with the top-ranked country, Sweden, a full 33 points above Libya, in last place.

Worldwide, English proficiency levels are highest among young adults aged 18-20. However, on a global level, the difference in English ability between age cohorts is extremely small for adults under 30. On a national level, the story is quite different, with some countries showing stark generational differences and others almost none.

Source: ERR


Nordic Aviation Group has sold over 31,000 tickets

The new Estonian airline, Nordic Aviation Group (NAG), has sold 31,444 tickets during the five days since launching ticket sales.

“Altogether 6,438 passengers have flown with us and we have made 147 flights,” Nordic Aviation Group spokesperson Liis Veersalu said in a press release.

Formed by the Estonian government and fully owned by the state, Nordic Aviation Group started serving passengers on eight different routes — Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Kiev, Trondheim and Vilnius — in cooperation with five European flight operators on Nov. 8.

Currently the role of Nordic Aviation is limited to ordering the flights, as the company does not have its own fleet of aircraft or crew yet. The flights are carried out in cooperation with airlines such as BMI, Trade Air, NextJet and Carpatair that provide the fleet and the crews, and Adria Airways that provides the flight operator’s certificate, commercial platform and ticketing system.

Source: Baltic News Service

Read also from ERR: Nordic Aviation Group takes over Estonian Air routes


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