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Estonian Review 19 - 26 May 2009

29.05.2009

FOREIGN NEWS
DEFENCE NEWS
ECONOMIC NEWS



FOREIGN NEWS

Estonian and Hungarian Foreign Minister Enthused to Continue EU Enlargement

19 May
- Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised at his meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Balazs in Budapest that EU enlargement must continue according to existing principals despite the difficult economic situation faced by European countries and the unfinished institutional reforms of the EU.
“We hope that Croatia and Slovenia will soon find a solution to their border dispute and that the European Union negotiations with Croatia and Turkey will continue in a constructive atmosphere,” Paet said. Foreign Minister Paet also emphasised that for the enlargement negotiations to be successful, it is necessary that the countries themselves do enough homework and show their will to continue with reforms.
While talking about bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Paet stressed Estonian and Hungarian co-operation in cultural, educational and consular issues. “There is close co-operation between Estonian and Hungarian educational institutions; the countries exchange lectors and students. Lecturers of the Estonian language work in Budapest, Szombathely and in Debrecen. A lecturer of the Hungarian language works at the University of Tartu,” Paet said. Foreign Minister Paet also expressed satisfaction over Estonia and Hungary's close consular co-operation. “Hungary, Estonia and Slovenia opened a common visa representation centre in Istanbul in April 2009,” noted Paet as an example. Hungary also represents Estonia in issuing visas in Moldova.
The assurance of stability in the Balkan region was also discussed at the meeting. Foreign Minister Paet acknowledged the actions of Hungary in developing democracy and in increasing economical stability in the Western Balkans. “The assurance of stability in the Balkan region is important for the whole of Europe and the Western Balkan countries must have a certain EU perspective. NATO must also continue with its open door policy in the Western Balkans in order to assure stability and security in the region,” said Paet. While talking about the future of the Balkan region, Foreign Minister Paet stressed the importance of Serbia. “Serbia, who has indicated a clear wish to integrate towards Europe, must have a clear EU prospect,” stressed Paet.
In their discussion about the Eastern Partnership, the foreign ministers agreed that the Eastern Partnership Summit held on 7 May was a positive step forward and indicated that EU member states as well as target states support and evaluate the strategic importance of the partnership. Foreign Minister Paet also noted that Eastern Partnership must develop into a real policy. “We are awaiting concrete measures and road maps that actually allow the implementation of the Eastern Partnership soon,” said Paet.
While discussing energy security issues the foreign ministers stated that a functioning and well-connected internal energy market is necessary for the strengthening of the European Union's energy security. “It is important to develop the external dimension of the EU's energy policy by diversifying energy providers and sources,” said Paet.


Paet: Korean Peninsula Must Remain Nuclear Weapon-Free

25 May
- In his speech at the Asian-European foreign ministers' meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, Vietnam, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet concentrated on important security issues, including North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, but also on fighting against piracy and on maritime and cyber security.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has to be condemned because it threatens peace and international security. “In a situation where the international community still has questions about the distribution of nuclear weapons in North Korea the steps made by North Korea today are leading towards deeper distrust,” emphasised Paet. “It is necessary for North Korea to adhere to and to honour UN resolutions and also to adhere to the six-party declaration on limiting nuclear weapons concluded between China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, the USA and Russia,” added Paet. The six-party declaration was made on 19 December in 2005.
Fighting against piracy was also discussed at the meeting. According to the Estonian foreign minister, more vigorous actions should be used to fight piracy. “We need an international agreement about how to handle detained pirates, about proper court proceedings, and appropriate punishments,” said Paet. “Even more decisive measures have to be taken to deter piracy: armed protection teams should be allowed aboard cargo ships and a proper legal basis for responses in cases of attack has to be created,” added Paet.
The foreign minister emphasised that more co-ordination and co-operation between international actors is needed in order to fight against piracy off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden. “Co-operation with Asian countries is also important,” said Paet.
Maritime security issues were also under discussion. Paet stated the need to improve the maritime safety and environmental protection of the Baltic Sea. “The Baltic Sea has some of the busiest maritime traffic in the world. There are about 2 000 ships daily on the Baltic Sea. Pollution caused by an accident would cause irreparable harm to the sensitive sea environment and it would have long-term consequences on fishing, tourism and trade,” said Paet.
Paet also talked about cyber security. “The cyber threat does not recognise any borders, hence international co-operation in assuring cyber security is very important,” stressed Paet. According to Foreign Minister Paet the lack of a legal framework for controlling cyber space puts many countries in the world with huge information and communication technology potential in a difficult position. “The use of technology for ill purposes, for example for industrial espionage or for cyber terrorism, must receive more focused attention by the international community,” added Paet.
ASEM is a vital forum for dialogue between Europe and Asia. The Asia-Europe Meeting has been the main multilateral channel for communication and dialogue between Asia and Europe since 1996. ASEM involves virtually the whole of Asia and Europe. The 45 ASEM partners represent half of the world's GDP, almost 60% of the world's population and 60% of global trade.


Foreign Minister Paet Opened Estonian Embassy in Budapest

19 May
- Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, while opening Estonia's new embassy in Budapest, emphasised the importance of the network of Estonia's foreign representations in preserving and developing foreign relations and in helping Estonian citizens.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, we live in challenging times and in order to overcome them we need to be even more open and co-operate closely with our partners. “Our embassy in Budapest is important in developing Estonian and Hungarian bilateral relations as well as for developing co-operation with Hungary in the European Union and in NATO,” said Paet. “We hope that bilateral relations between Estonia and Hungary will become even more active and that the newly opened embassy in Budapest will become a good place to work for our diplomats who protect the interests of Estonia and its people and enterprises. We can turn today's economic situation in our favour by trying harder and by creating opportunities,” added Paet. The Foreign Ministry bought the embassy building in Hungary in 2007. Renovation of the building was done mainly by Estonian contractors in 2008. Formerly, the Estonian Embassy in Budapest did not have its own building and Estonian diplomats worked in the rooms of an apartment building, which were adapted for the needs of the embassy. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet opened the embassy in Budapest on 19 May within the framework of his working visit to Hungary.
The Estonian Embassy in Budapest is located at Áldás utca 3, 1025 Budapest II, Hungary. The telephone number is (361) 354 25 70 and fax number is (361) 354 25 71. The embassy can also be reached by email at Embassy.Budapest@mfa.ee, and its website is http://www.estemb.hu.

Visa Freedom, Economic Relations Discussed with Thai and Singaporean Foreign Ministers

26 May
- Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and with Singaporean Foreign Minister Georg Yong-Boon Yeo within the framework of the Asian-European foreign ministers' meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The Estonian and Thai foreign ministers discussed the establishment of visa freedom for Estonian citizens travelling to Thailand. In principle Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya concurred with Paet's proposal. “Taking into account the popularity of Thailand as a tourism destination among Estonians, the establishment of visa freedom would be useful,” added Paet.
According to Foreign Minister Paet, relations between Estonia and Thailand are close in cultural and educational issues. “Estonia values highly the work done by Thai's Ministry of Education and by the Estonian Honorary Consul in offering scholarships for Estonian students to learn in internationally acknowledged Thai schools,” said Paet.
Developing economic relations was also discussed at the meeting. Signing an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation would help to deepen the economic relations between Estonia and Thailand. “There is growth potential in economic relations and we hope that the signing of the agreement for the avoidance of double taxation will help to implement this potential,” said Paet.
Paet and Piromya also talked about widening the honorary consular network. “Estonia has at the moment only one honorary consul in Thailand, but as Thailand is becoming more and more popular among Estonian tourists Estonia is considering appointing an honorary consul in Phuket as well,” noted Paet.
Foreign Minister Paet discussed the development of economic relations and increasing the number of treaties with Singapore with his Singaporean colleague Georg Yong-Boon Yeo.
According to the Estonian foreign minister, Singapore is an important centre of high technology and innovation and Estonia wishes to develop co-operation with Singapore in the knowledge-based sector. “Although Singapore is Estonia's most important trade partner in South-East Asia, there is a lot of growth potential in economic and trade relations. Estonia is interested in finding co-operation opportunities with Singapore in info-, bio- and gene technology and in medicine,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that a science and technology framework agreement, currently being prepared, will also help the establishment of contacts in the science and technology field.
The development of tourism was also discussed at the meeting. Foreign Minister Paet noted that an Estonian honorary consulate was opened in Singapore in the autumn of 2008 and the actions of the honorary consul have promoted Estonia in Singapore. “We hope that Singapore will soon open an honorary consulate in Estonia,” said Paet.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet invited the Thai and the Singaporean foreign ministers to visit Estonia.


Paet Requested Visa Freedom for Estonian Citizens Travelling to Vietnam

25 May
- Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with his Vietnamese colleague Pham Gia Khiem within the framework of the Asian-European foreign ministers' meeting (ASEM) in Hanoi, Vietnam. The foreign ministers discussed the possibilities of tightening bilateral relations and co-operation in widening bilateral treaties. The potential nuclear ambitions of North-Korea and developments in Burma/Myanmar were also discussed at the meeting.
The foreign ministers support good relations between Estonia and Vietnam and Foreign Minister Urmas Paet made a proposal to his colleague to end visa requirements for Estonian citizens. “Estonia is interested in having similar opportunities for travelling to Vietnam as other Nordic countries,” said Paet. “Visa-free travel to Vietnam will surely increase the number of Estonian tourists visiting Vietnam as well as increase opportunities for making more business contacts with Vietnamese businesses,” said Paet.
Urmas Paet and Pham Gia Khiem noted that discussions about Estonian and Vietnamese co-operation opportunities will continue this summer in Tallinn during consultations between the Estonian and Vietnamese foreign ministries. “Preparations for signing an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion between Estonia and Vietnam are also being made. We hope to sign them soon,” stated Paet. Estonia is also actively working towards appointing an honorary consul to Vietnam.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet invited the Vietnamese foreign minister to visit Estonia.
The meeting of the foreign ministers took place within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers in Hanoi, Vietnam.


Estonia Established Diplomatic Relations with São Tomé and Príncipe

20 May
- Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia in Portugal Mart Tarmak and Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe Alda Alves de Melo dos Santos signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two nations in Lisbon.
During the discussion that followed the signing ceremony, the ambassadors discussed relations between the European Union and Africa and talked about development co-operation. Topics under discussion also included opportunities for developing relations between Estonia and São Tomé and Príncipe. “Estonians are very interested in different places all over the world, therefore São Tomé and Príncipe could become a destination for Estonian tourists,” said Ambassador Tarmak while talking about co-operation possibilities.
The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea off the western equatorial coast of Africa. It consists of two bigger islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, which have given the name to the country, and of smaller islets. The southernmost islet Rolas is situated on the equator. São Tomé and Príncipe is one of the smallest countries in Africa with an area of 1001 km² and a population of about 200 000. The capital is São Tomé and the official language is Portuguese.


Paet: More Attention Should be Given to World Education

22 May
- Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that more attention should be paid to world education while opening the conference “The Experiences and Possibilities of World Education in Estonia - The importance of world education”. The conference took place within the framework of Tallinn's World Day festival. “No country can afford indifference regarding such problems as poverty, conflicts and climate change. Development problems and humanitarian catastrophes influence the whole world, including Estonia,” said Paet.
While talking about development co-operation, Foreign Minister Paet pointed to Estonia's goals of diminishing poverty and achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals. “The achievement of those objectives depends on the principal values of each individual and on their courage to be interested in world issues and their wish to be actively involved and conscious about the processes which influence their lives,” said Paet
“It is positive that Estonians are becoming more and more interested in global issues,” stated Paet. According to a public opinion survey conducted in April 2008 the percentage of those who are interested in global issues compared to 2005 has grown from 57% to 67%. Foreign Minister Paet also pointed out that it is necessary to pay more attention to world education when developing school curricula. Foreign Minister Paet also emphasised the importance of civilian organisations in promoting world education
Tallinn's World Day festival will take place in Tammsaare Park on Sunday 23 May. The aim of the festival is to introduce Estonia as a development co-operation donor and to also introduce the recipient countries of Estonian development co-operation-to talk about their problems, culture and character.
The annual festival is taking place for the fifth time. The festival's main topic is world education. Workshops and roundtables will take place and different opinion leaders, politicians and development co-operation experts will take the floor. There is also a musical program. The festival will be opened by Marina Kaljurand, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The World Day festival is organised by the Development Co-operation Roundtable together with the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with other partners.


Innovative Estonian Electronics Introduced in London

21 May
- Estonian high-tech electronics were introduced in London at a seminar held at the Estonian Embassy. Innovative solutions from Estonia were presented by the Estonian companies Artec Group, Cybernetica, Nordic Sonar, Smartfid and Regio.
According to Estonian Ambassador in the UK Margus Laidre, high-tech electronics is certainly one of the areas where a small country can offer big solutions. “Estonia is already among the recognised world leaders for various e-solutions, but we have the potential to offer novel high-tech electronic solutions as well,” said Laidre. Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy Paul Elberg said that Estonia is already a base for engineering and manufacturing several pioneering electronic devices, which were introduced at the seminar today.
Estonia is the world leader in the well-established practices of electronic identity-based authentication and digital signing, e-government, e-tax board, e-voting and e-banking. Skype also originates from Estonia. In 2008 the NATO Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence was founded in Estonia engaging in analysis and prevention of cyber attacks, showing a definite trust in the country's ICT sector.
The seminar was jointly organised by the Estonian Embassy in London, Enterprise Estonia in London and UK Trade and Investment.



DEFENCE NEWS

EU Defence Ministers Discussed International Operations

19 May
- Yesterday, the defence ministers of the EU met in Brussels, where they discussed the military operations of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the anti-piracy operation off the Somalia coast.
According to Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after many long years of NATO and EU operations, is in a stage where it is possible to start planning a military consultation mission. “But the decision to switch to a consultation mission will be made when the political situation so allows,” said Aaviksoo.
When discussing the anti-piracy operation off the Somalia coast, the ministers of defence stressed that, despite the progress that has been made, the attacks by the pirates have not been completely halted. Therefore it is necessary to further increase co-operation and co-ordination with other international forces in the operation region to provide for the security of shipping in these waters. The ministers made a positive note on the military operation of the EU in Chad, which ended recently. It was agreed that the operation was a success, since the UN follow-up mission will take over regions with a much better humanitarian situation from the EU.
The strategic partnership of NATO and the EU and co-operation with the UN and the African Union were also discussed at the meeting. Also, a meeting of the European Defence Agency (EDA) was held on a ministerial level, where the discussions centred on the EDA's budget and the availability of helicopters. The national defence development plan for 2009-2018 foresees the contribution of Estonia's capabilities and units in foreign missions carried out by NATO, by the European Union and/or in case of a coalition of the willing. Its contribution to foreign operations helps Estonia to reach defence policy goals and is also a significant catalyst for the EDF and the Defence League.


Aaviksoo and Laaneots Decorate Distinguished Soldiers

21 May
- At the Tallinn Airport today, Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo and the Commander of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots gave decorations to the Estonian soldiers of the infantry company Estcoy-7 and the National Support Element NSE-6 who returned from the difficult mission in Afghanistan.
Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo decorated all of the members of the Defence Forces with the Medal of Participants of International Peace Operations. Commander of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots handed out 22 Estonian Defence Forces Distinguished Service Decorations for Battlefield Service, three Estonian Defence Forces Distinguished Service Crosses and 29 letters of appreciation. The Commander of the Defence Forces also handed out the following army decorations - three Estonian Army Officers Golden Crosses of Merit, ten Estonian Army Silver Crosses of Merit and two Estonian Army Bronze Crosses of Merit.
"You fought with distinction in the name of freedom," said Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo to the Estonian soldiers and to the hundreds of family members, relatives and friends who had come to welcome them home. "Not only did you fight for the freedom of the people of Afghanistan, but also to guarantee the safety of our own people and our country."
The Minister of Defence thanked the families of the soldiers for their understanding and for their support.
"The seventh company was one of the most professional units of the ISAF's Task Force Helmand," assured Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots. "You did an outstanding job! Thank you!"
"Thank you for the support that we felt thousands of kilometres from Estonia," said the commander of Estcoy-7, Major Raigo Paimla. "Your support gave us strength and helped us to return home as we were when we left. All of the soldiers are here. I assure you that your sons and husbands are brave soldiers."
Over a period of six months, the infantry company, under the command of Major Raigo Paimla, conducted 27 operations in the tumultuous Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. The Estonian infantrymen operated in predominantly intensive combat operations in Nad-e-Ali, in the middle of Helmand Province. The soldiers also participated in the ISAF's Operation Sond Chara in December, during which large areas were cleared of anti-government insurgents.
In addition to combat operations, the company also conducted security and convoy operations. The Estcoy-7 members found a total of 39 improvised explosive devices (IED) and large quantities of materials for producing these.
The responsibilities of Estcoy-7 were taken over by the infantry company Estcoy-8 under the command of Major Tarvo Luga. The logistics support for the infantry continues to be provided by the National Support Element NSE-7.
A total of about 150 members of the Defence Forces serve on the EDF's largest foreign operation in Afghanistan. Estonia has participated in the international military operation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2003. Since 2006, they have operated predominantly in Southern Afghanistan.


Injured Estonian Soldier Treated in Camp Bastion Hospital

19 May (BNS)
- An Estonian soldier seriously wounded in an attack by insurgents in Afghanistan last Monday is being treated in the field hospital of the Camp Bastion base.
Insurgents mounted an attack on a foot patrol of the Estonian unit ESTCOY-8 in the Nad-e-Ali area of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on Monday afternoon. In the exchange of fire one member of the Estonian Defence Forces sustained injuries.
The seriously injured member of the Defence Forces was taken to the field hospital of the Camp Bastion base and was operated on by British surgeons.
Maj. Peeter Tali, chief of the information department of the General Staff in Tallinn, said that the condition of the injured member of the Defence Forces was stable, with doctors saying that a longer period for treatment and rehabilitation is necessary.
It has not been decided yet if treatment will continue in Afghanistan or the injured soldier will be airlifted to Europe.
Maj. Tali said that the Estonian soldier was operated on in the Level Three field hospital, or the field hospital of the highest level at Camp Bastion, which has exceptional diagnostic capabilities for a field hospital, specialist doctors and an intensive care capability.
It also remains to be decided whether or not a replacement will be sent to Afghanistan. That will be decided by the Army staff after an analysis, Tali said.
The present Estonian infantry company, ESTCOY-8, started service as part of the British led force in Helmand province at the beginning of this month.


Estonian Participation in New Rotation of Nordic Battle Group Confirmed

26 May (BNS)
- Estonia will take part in another rotation of the Nordic Battle Group in 2011, Permanent Undersecretary of the Defence Ministry Riho Terras confirmed in today's meeting with visiting Swedish colleague Hakan Jevrell.
On the agenda of the meeting were the priorities of the upcoming Swedish European Union presidency, EU and NATO affairs, the co-operation of the two organisations and the enhancing of co-ordination. Jevrell shed light on his country's new defence policy paper and the secretaries informed one another about the national defence development plans of their countries.
Terras told BNS that questions relating to EU battle groups and their use were under discussion at the meeting. He confirmed Estonia's participation in the Nordic Battle Group that will be on standby in 2011.
He said the battle group will be formed by the same countries that participated together with Estonia in the battle group on standby in the first half of 2008. Estonia's contribution will remain basically on the same level as then, he said.
Possible joint defence procurements were another important topic discussed in the meeting. According to Terras, Nordic countries work together in procurement and Estonia is interested in the possibility of co-operation in a Nordic-Baltic format. Joint procurements allow for remarkable amounts of money to be saved, he observed.
EU battle groups are tactical rapid response units of about 1 500 personnel that must be ready for deployment to crisis areas within 15 days and prepared for an operation lasting up to 120 days.
Estonia assigned 49 soldiers to the Nordic Battle Group in the first half of 2008.


Terras: Spring Storm Training Unites the Defence Forces and the People

21 May
- In Simuna today, Riho Terras, Permanent Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence, thanked the representatives of local governments and landowners for their willingness to co-operate and their complaisance in the organisation of Spring Storm 2009.
According to Terras, the independent defence capability of Estonia is efficient when Estonia operates as one in a crisis situation - good examples are the local governments of Laekvere, Avinurme, Väike-Maarja, Torma, Tudulinna and Simuna. He also stated that ensuring Estonia's defensive capability cannot be made the task of the Defence Forces alone; every individual and organisation can contribute to the defensive capability of the state, just like the landowners during Spring Storm 2009, for example, who allowed their land and roads to be used.
“Without the exercise Spring Storm, the Defence Forces would not work; especially the Defence Forces based on conscription and reserve forces,” said Permanent Undersecretary Riho Terras to the people of both Viru counties. “Such training exercises would not be possible without the local people and without the support of local rural municipalities. So I would like to thank the rural municipalities, entrepreneurs and the local residents.”
The headquarters of the exercise Spring Storm 2009 gave Terras an overview of the progress of the training that has lasted for two and a half weeks already, after which Permanent Undersecretary Terras went to the field and examined the work of the 1st Infantry Brigade Staff and the activities of the Defence League battalion that was participating in the exercise Spring Storm 2009.
“Such training is a place for us to prove that the military service system operates efficiently. As our national defence is based on reserve, it links the national defence structure to the people," the permanent undersecretary said about the importance of Spring Storm.
The aim of the largest exercise of the year for the army, Spring Storm 2009, is to realise the co-operation ability of the battalion to be included in the reserve this spring in the membership of the Infantry Brigade. After the Spring Storm, the infantry battalion of this year's conscripts will go to reserve. The infantry battalion will meet again in a few years at the reserve training exercise.
The Spring Storm exercise was attended by almost 3 000 conscripts, regular members of the Defence Forces, reservists and members of the Defence League. Spring Storm 2009 was held from 4-24 May.



ECONOMIC NEWS

Currency Rates in Kroons
(Bank of Estonia)


January-April Freight Flows of Estonian Ports Close to Last Year's Levels

19 May (BNS)
- Estonian ports loaded and unloaded 12.57 million tons of freight in the first four months of this year, just 0.6% less than during the same period a year earlier, the national statistics office said today.
The main reason for the decline was a year-on-year drop of close to 5% in loading where throughput reached 9.8 million tons.
Unloading at the same time surged 17% to 2.76 million tons.
In April 2.54 million tons of goods was loaded, marking an increase of 16% in annual comparison. Unloading totalled 0.8 million tons, up by 13% from the same month last year.


Estonians Rate Kalev, Nokia, EMT, A Le Coq as Top Brands

19 May (BNS)
- The most highly rated brands in Estonia are Kalev, Nokia, EMT and A. Le Coq, it appears from a survey by TNS Emor pollsters.
Of beverages makers, A. Le Coq was the most popular brand among both ethnic Estonians and Russians, the Tartu-based brewer said. Next came Saku Õlletehas and Coca-Cola.
A. Le Coq placed first also in the brand scoreboard of male respondents. CEO Tarmo Noop said the outcome of the brand study shows popular recognition of both the brand and A. Le Coq's products. The fact that the company has within a decade reached the same level as well-known and established brands is invaluable, he said.
The fieldwork for the survey that examined the image of 108 brands among the Estonian population was done in January and February and the study was completed in March. In all, 1 014 people across Estonia were polled.


Revenues of Mezeikiu Nafta Climb to EUR 505 Million in 2008

20 May (BNS)
- Revenues of Mazeikiu Nafta Trading House (MNTH), an Estonian company in the Mazeikiu Nafta group of Lithuania, grew last year to 7.9 billion kroons (EUR 504.79 mln) from 5.8 billion kroons in 2007.
The net profit of MNTH was stable at 35.4 million kroons.
The company sold 95 and 98 octane gasolines, diesel fuel, bitumen and aviation fuel in Estonia last year.
MNTH said in the annual report that the Estonian market for light fuels is highly competitive, putting the market volume last year at 900 000 tons. Mazeikiu Nafta estimated that its share of the motor fuel market was 90% and of the diesel fuel market, 50%.
MNTH hopes to sell 600 000 tons of fuels and maintain its market share this year.
The company employed nine people in 2008.


Turnover of Leibur Up to EEK 432 Million Last Year

26 May (BNS)
- According to preliminary data the turnover of the AS Leibur bakery grew by 432 million kroons (EUR 27.6 mln) in 2008. The year before the figure was 371 million kroons.
Olli Johansson, acting managing director of Leibur, said that in the company's own opinion Leibur's market share in Estonia is nearly 35%. He said Leibur would endorse the official profit figure in June.
Johansson said that despite the complicated economic situation there would also be major investments this year.
In 2007 Leibur invested nearly 9.3 million euros.
The mother company of Leibur, established in 1762, is the Finnish company Vaasan & Vaasan Oy; the company exports bakery products also to Latvia and Lithuania.
Leibur has about 320 employees.


Selver to Open Sixth Supermarket in Latvia

22 May (BNS)
- The Estonian retail chain Selver, part of the listed Tallinna Kaubamaja group, will open its sixth supermarket in Latvia, in the city of Aizkraukle, on Saturday.
The Aizkraukle Selver, with a sales area of 1 505 square meters, gives work to 29 people.
"The Aizkraukle Selver is the sixth in Latvia and the last of the first phase of expansion. We're going to focus now on strengthening our positions in all the six regions," managing director of Selver Latvia Uldis Priekulis said.
In his words, future plans of Selver feature opening a store in the capital city of Riga as well, but it's too soon to talk about it.
Other Selver supermarkets in Latvia are situated in Salaspils, Daugavpils, Kuldiga, Ogre and Rezekne.





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