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ATCI: Albanian Times, 98-01-26

The Albanian Times (by AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International) Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: AlbAmerica Trade & Consulting International <http://www.worldweb.net/~ww1054/>

Albanian Times Vol. IV, No. 4

January 26, 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Coopers & Lybrand to Audit Pyramids
  • [02] Banks in crisis
  • [03] SPB Awarded Three Exploration Blocks Onshore Albania
  • [04] Italy, Macedonia sign debt rescheduling accord
  • [05] Clinton Favors Preferential Treatment for Albania
  • [06] Ten million leks to control Lezhe rivers
  • [07] World Athletic Association to Continue Aid to Albania
  • [08] Siemens, Swissair bid for Albania airport terminal
  • [09] Insurance Institute to Expand Activity
  • [10] Schemes Deposits Outside Albania to Be Controlled
  • [11] Unemployment at 450,000
  • [12] Black Sea Bank Ready to Open in Two Weeks
  • [13] East Europe the Fastest Growing Region in 98

  • [01] Coopers & Lybrand to Audit Pyramids

    TIRANA, January 20 - Albania's Finance Ministry said it had invited Coopers & Lybrand to negotiate a contract to audit firms paying interest similar to pyramid schemes that collapsed last year. ``Coopers & Lybrand's offer ranked first in the tender and the ministry has invited it to negotiate a contract,'' finance ministry spokesman said. Accountants of Deloitte & Touche have already been at work since last November administering five Albanian companiess. Coopers & Lybrand is expected to check the accounts of the five companies to assess how much money could be available to the creditors.Vefa, Cenaj, Kamberi, Silva and M.Leka have stopped paying their clients since early last year. Albania has invited another international tender to select a company to audit 12 pyramid schemes that collapsed last year.

    [02] Banks in crisis

    TIRANA, January 21 - High interest rates offered by Albanian banks in crisi have reduced demand for credits, officials said. "Factories need credits to improve technology but very high interest rates have reduced the demand for credits," Savings Bank officials said. With inflation last year at about 40 percent, credit interest were pushed above the 40 percent margin. Officials expected interest rates to drop in 1998 and more foregn banks to extend their operations outside Tirana.

    [03] SPB Awarded Three Exploration Blocks Onshore Albania

    VANCOUVER, January 20 - SANDS PETROLEUM(TSE:SPB.) Sands Petroleum AB ("Sands") has, through its 95.5 percent owned subsidiary International Petroleum Corporation ("IPC"), been awarded three exploration blocks onshore Albania. The agreements were signed with the Albanian government in Tirana on January 19th. Blocks 2, 3 and A were awarded to a consortium comprising IPC who have a 20 percent interest, Occidental International Exploration and Production Company ("Oxy") with 50 percent and Anschutz Albania ("Anschutz") with a 30 percent interest. Oxy will act as operator for the group. The blocks were part of a bid round which was opened in 1996 and included 8 blocks which had not previously been offered. Preliminary award of Blocks 2, 3 and A to the group was made in the 3rd quarter of 1996. The blocks are located within and on trend with the proven petroleum system in Albania where an estimated 1 billion barrels of recoverable reserves have been discovered (please see attached map). Most of the existing oilfields in Albania are located within the boundaries of Blocks 2 and 3. The current producing area of these fields have been excluded from the permits, however, rights to deeper exploration objectives below these fields are included. The primary exploration target will be sub-thrust fractured carbonate reservoirs similar to those recently discovered in the southern Appenines of Italy (including Monte Alpi field with an estimated 1 to 2 billion barrels of recoverable reserves). Several large leads have been identified on existing seismic and landsat images. Work commitments in the primary 3 year exploration phase are 650 kilometers of 2D seismic and the drilling of two exploration wells. During 1998 an initial 150 km seismic program including the extensive testing of specialized acquisition and processing techniques will be undertaken to address the primary technical risk which is the seismic imaging of sub-thrust structural prospects. Acquisition of the remainder of the seismic program and commencement of the drilling program are planned for 1999.

    [04] Italy, Macedonia sign debt rescheduling accord

    SKOPJE, January 21 - Italy and Macedonia signed an $11.3 millin debt- rescheduling agreement in Skopje on Wednesday during a visit by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Under the agreement, $9.1 million of Macedonia's $11.3 million debt will be rescheduled to 15 years with a three- year grace period in line with standards of the Paris club of creditors, reporters were told in Skopje. An agreement on technical and scientific cooperation was also signed. Prodi, who was accompanied by a large business delegation, said that Italy was interested in investing in Macedonia's small and medium companies, its banks, telecommunications and public services. He said Italy was interested in participating in the construction of an east-west corridor, which is to link the Adriatic coast to the Black sea from the Albanian port Durres via Tirana, Skopje, Sofia and Bulgaria's port Burgas. A transportation memorandum is to be signed between Italy, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria in February, Prodi said.

    [05] Clinton Favors Preferential Treatment for Albania

    TIRANE, January 24 - President Clinton has asked Congress to accelerate procedures for granting Albania preferential trade status. The White House Press Office says in a report that in a letter addressed to the speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the U.S. Senate, President Clinton says that Albania "in full compliance with the criteria of the people's free movement, entitles itself to the right to get the preferential treatment and also benefit from other activities, not needing annual request for legal procedure." "According to the report Albania fully complies with the U.S. and international standards as regards the people's free movement. Since 1991 Albania has not established limitations on the people's movement, also including here the procedures of its citizens going out of the state." "On December 5,1997, I decided and reported to the Congress that Albania was in full compliance with the free movement criteria, sanctioned in articles 402 and 409 of Trade Act of 1974." "This act gives me the right to ask preferential treatment for Albania, which can also benefit from other separate activities, not needing annual request for procedure."

    [06] Ten million leks to control Lezhe rivers

    LEZHE, January 22 - The Albanian government has allocated 10 million leks for the construction of eight dams, each 5-6 meters high to control rivers that risk flooding the city of Lezhe. The contract was won by the "Star Construction" firm, an Albanian building company. Flood water caused by heavy rains has inundated the city in several occasions in the past. The project employs about 100 workers

    [07] World Athletic Association to Continue Aid to Albania

    TIRANE, January 21 - The President of the World Athletics Association, Primo Nebiolo has confirmed a grant of $13 000 for the National Athletic Federation. Officials said thi is a continuation of the aid begun in 1993 with a contract expiring in 1997. The members of the World Athletic Federations decided at a recent meeting to grand the remaining aid to Albania and several other countries. The aid would enable complete participation of Albania's athletic teams in international events.

    [08] Siemens, Swissair bid for Albania airport terminal

    TIRANA, January 21 - Germany's Siemens AG has teamed up with Swissair in a bid to build a new terminal at Albania's Rinas international airport, Siemens representative in Albania Bindi Sh.p.k said. Siemens and Swissair, represented by Swissport International AG, will form a consortium including Germany's Spiekermann Construction GmbH & Co and Greece's Latsis Group to build and operate the terminal, Bindi said. They are competing against a 50- million-mark bid by a group led by Germany's Lufthansa and including Alcatel's German subsidiary Goldeckbau and AEG. The winner is likely to be declared in a month's time. "Siemens has proposed to build the terminal and to operate it under a concession. The financing has been secured,'' Hysen Ruka, Bindi's general manager said. Ruka said Siemens, which had built 2, 000 airports around the world, wanted to construct, operate and then hand over the terminal at the airport near the capital Tirana. Siemens wanted to build a terminal with ``the appearance of Munich (airport) and the service of Zurich.'' Siemens' proposed terminal could handle one million passengers a year. Ruka said Albania's state-owned Albtransport, which operates Rinas, would be given a share, with its size subject to negotiation. Siemens is already rebuilding the runway, lights and boundary fence at Rinas, a project worth 48.5 million marks ($26.5 million). ($ - 1.831 German Marks)

    [09] Insurance Institute to Expand Activity

    TIRANA, January 22 - Albania's only insurance company, INSIG, confirmed it intends to expand its activities through establishing an insurance bank, a construction firm and a giant car service, to be more competitive in the free market. "Now, it is time for INSIG to invest with higher productivity than before, " the director of state-owned INSIG, Sherif Bundo, said. "INSIG should change its strategy, as Albania's insurance market will change soon, too," Bundo said. INSIG would own the majority of shares in the three companies with the rest will be owned by privates.

    [10] Schemes Deposits Outside Albania to Be Controlled

    TIRANA, January 23 - Albanian government auditors into several investment schemes said they are determined to control the companies' deposits outside Albania as preliminary results of the transparency process have revealed abuses in the transfer of money in favour of third parties, officials said. The head of government's supervising agency, Farudin Arapi said "the money that could be obtained from the selling of the non-profitable activities of the money borrowing companies under the transparency process, can not cover the debt to their numerous creditors,". He said, the auditing process would help rise the money available for the creditors. Irregularities have been identified because of the change of the destination of the borrowed money, Arapi said. He said, "those persons, already identified, would be forced by law to bring the money back". "I am confident that the truth would come to light soon," Arapi said.

    [11] Unemployment at 450,000

    TIRANE, January 23 - Albania's unemployment is estimated at around 450,000, a third of the workforce. About 600,000 Albanians eked out a meagre existence on welfare hand-outs of around $15 a month, according to official sources. Salaries average a mere $50 a month and pensions about $25 a month. The government has prepared a program of economic rehabilitation which has already started implementing. ,According to the Albanian press, around $270 million of $640 million promised by international donors last October has already been received. Prime Minister Fatos Nano has pledged to cut around 10,000 public-sector jobs this year.

    [12] Black Sea Bank Ready to Open in Two Weeks

    ATHENS, January 21 - The Salonica-based Black Sea Economic Cooperation Bank is expected to open in about two weeks, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis said. Kranidiotis was quoted as telling a conference on the Black Sea that seven of the 11 countries participating in the share capital of the bank had now deposited the funds after a delay. The bank will be the financial backbone of the 11-nation Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), a group set up in 1993 to help build commercial ties among neighbours and traditional foes in the region. Greece, Russia and Turkey will each contribute 16.6 percent of the bank's capital, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine 13.5 percent, while Albania, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan will invest two percent.

    [13] East Europe the Fastest Growing Region in 98

    LONDON, Jan 12 - East Europe will be the fastest growing region of the world in 1998, with growth in war-torn Bosnia expected to outstrip all 186 countries surveyed, London-based think-tank the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said. The EIU's annual World Outlook report predicts growth in the transition economies of central and eastern Europe will accelerate to 4.1 percent this year from 2.3 percent in 1997. This will be the fastest growth for the region since the transition from ommunism in the early 1990s. Bosnia-Hercegovina is expected to boom by 35 percent as post-war reconstruction there gets underway, the report said. Albania's growth is expected at 12.0 percent while Yugoslavia at 6.0 percent.

    This material was reprinted with permission of AlbAmerica Trade and Consulting International (ATCI). For more information on ATCI and the Albanian Times, please write to AlbaTimes@aol.com.

    Copyright © ATCI, 1998


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