Magazine article Europe-East

Corporate News

Magazine article Europe-East

Corporate News

Article excerpt

The national railway companies of the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are ready to take a common position in solving issues before and after EU accession. The heads of all three national railway companies met in Riga in mid-October, and agreed to co-operate on a number of projects, and to deal jointly with strategic issues - including the region's transport situation after the three countries join the EU. To withstand external competition and boost cargo volumes after joining the EU market, they aim to find joint solutions to their offers. Latvia's railway company, Latvijas Dzelzcels, is taking the leading role in what is to be called "the Baltic Product" - co-ordinating cargo flow from Baltic ports (mainly container cargo) to Russia and beyond. As part of the proposed project, Latvia would gather container shipments coming from ports in all three Baltic States and distribute them to further destinations. The meeting also approved Latvia's right to represent the interests of the Baltic States at the top-level international co-ordination council meeting for Trans-Siberian shipments, set to take place in Switzerland this November.

Hungary intends to start selling off a 25% stake in its Mol energy company in mid-2003, once energy deregulation is in force in the country. Economic affairs minister Istvan Csillag has indicated that the government stake will principally be sold off via stock market issues, but he has not ruled out direct sales to strategic investors (among which Russia's Gazprom is one possible candidate). Hungary's privatisation agency is also working on plans to float the state-owned land and mortgage bank FHB, and the national electricity grid operator MVM, by the end of 2004, and strategic partners could be sought for the airline Malev and the Dunaferr steelworks. …

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