Elections done, crisis back

TIRANA, Feb.20 – the end of the electoral process is due to bring back the long dark hours of power cuts in the majority of Albania’s cities. Long power cuts of 8 hours have started in the southern city of

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Devaluation of LEK makes lek-denominated loans attractive

TIRANA, Feb.20 – Remittances and services offered in foreign exchange have made the local currency go down in value steadily. The convenience of conducting daily operations in local currency coupled with the low relative value has made lek-denominated loans the

Read Full Article

Credin’s Bank shareholders transfer is approved

TIRANA, Feb.17 – BoA approved on Thursday the transfer of a 14.67 percent stake in Credins bank between two shareholders. The request had been made last year but refused on the basis of a pending legal process on one of

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Cash registers for all trade related taxpayers

TIRANA, Feb.20 – Sale receipts will be automatically controlled by registers that will be mandatory for shops and other trade outlets, The Finance Ministry declared as part of its strategy to reduce e informal economy and control cash flows for

Read Full Article

Construction confidence rises

TIRANA, Feb.16 – The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) said on Thursday that the business confidence of the Albanian construction sector rose in January on an annual basis and also was higher than it was three months earlier. The

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EU considers lower duties for Albania’s shoe and yarn duties

BRUSSELS, Feb.16 – EU ministers have been asked to approve a trade deal negotiated by the European Commission and Albania, liberalizing sales of various footwear and textile production input lines.

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Slovenian SCT starts work on motorway

TIRANA, Feb.17 – The Albanian transport ministry’s spokeswoman Erla Mehilli said that Slovenian construction company SCT had started building a $11.7 million (8.9 million euro) stretch of motorway in northern Albania. This is part of a key transport corridor linking

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EU-Albanian meeting on energy and regional development

TIRANA, Feb. 6 – Officials of the European Union and the Albanian government met for two days Thursday-Friday to discuss a series of issues in the context of the Stabilization and Association Agreement work which the tiny Balkan country signed

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Government to increase foreign debt, leverage needed for investment

TIRANA, Feb.19 – Foreign debt will reach the value of 380 million euro according o the latest government decisions to finance public investments. On the other hand the government has recruited an debt assessment company, Moody’s which is expected to

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Albanian Airlines charters Denim Air

Denim Air, the leading European regional airline ACMI specialist, has put into service one Fokker 50 on an ACMI lease with Tirana based Albanian Airlines. The contract is for an initial six months. The aircraft (serial number PH-KXM) now sporting

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.20 - the end of the electoral process is due to bring back the long dark hours of power cuts in the majority of Albania's cities. Long power cuts of 8 hours have started in the southern city of Fier and will start to be implemented again throughout the country. The Emergency group created by the Ministry of Economy, trade and energy related to the energy crisis has confirmed that since production and import levels have not changed much in the positive direction power cuts are back on the agenda. Andi Beli, executive head of the state monopoly KESH which runs the energy system, said that the promise of supplying electricity to the electoral centers until the last vote was counted was kept by his corporation. This statement has been contested since many problems related to power supply were noticed in some of the electoral zones. 
The Fireza lake is still at low levels given the lack of rains, and stand sat 261 meters. Imports and local production are both at the general level of 10 million kW/h. the schedule of the power cuts is expected to bring back 4-6 hours of energy lack in the main urban areas and almost 12 hours for rural ones. The emergency group has most of the rights in taking decisions related to energy in this period. The order to supply 24 hours the electoral center was given by Prime Minister Berisha and contested by experts who said that the Fierza Lake could not sustain it. Specialists used the Drini cascade in the other hydropower utilities along the river bed avoiding thus the collapse of the main power plant. 
                    [post_title] =>  Elections done, crisis back 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.20 - Remittances and services offered in foreign exchange have made the local currency go down in value steadily. The convenience of conducting daily operations in local currency coupled with the low relative value has made lek-denominated loans the favorite leverage option for Albanians. The Albanian currency is also very stable because it is strictly under the low inflationary control procedures of the central bank. Foreign currency loans have extra expenses of exchange rate related adjustments. BoA has recently criticized second level banks for their ambiguous reporting of interest values. According to Boa frequently banks report the nominal and not the real interest rate which should be adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations. 
                    [post_title] =>  Devaluation of LEK makes lek-denominated loans attractive 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.17 - BoA approved on Thursday the transfer of a 14.67 percent stake in Credins bank between two shareholders. The request had been made last year but refused on the basis of a pending legal process on one of the shareholders of the transaction. BoA supervisory board said in a statement that it "approved the application for the transfer of the stake owned by the shareholder Muhamet Malo to the shareholder Renis Tershana." Hence, Tershana becomes the second-largest shareholder in the bank with a 22.76 percent stake, after Albanian financial group Credins, which owns 41.33percent. The board decided to deny the request the first time "for safety reasons" but now, as the buyer has a clean legal record, the approval was made possible, BoA's press officer Najada Samarxhiu added. BoA has the legal right to examine, approve and veto transfers of stakes in local banks exceeding 10 percent of their share capital. Credins bank was the first bank in Albania fully owned by private capital. It was set up in 2003 and now it runs a network of 16 branches. For the year 2005 Credins reported a 75 million leks ($787,000/600,000 euro) net profit. Its total assets reached 16.7 billion leks at the end of 2005, almost doubling from the previous year.
                    [post_title] =>  Credin's Bank shareholders transfer is approved 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.20 - Sale receipts will be automatically controlled by registers that will be mandatory for shops and other trade outlets, The Finance Ministry declared as part of its strategy to reduce e informal economy and control cash flows for taxing purposes. The project is a two-year investment planned by the General Directory of Taxation. The problem is one of the oldest ones and ha san interesting cultural feature. Albanians like many people in the Balkans base most of their relationships even the business ones on personal trust and thus are often opposed to similar measures. The new economic system though makes it an imperative to own such machines for most of the trading outlets. The government has made several attempts to install such registers and almost all of them have been unsuccessful. Taxation Authority vice director, Shaban Jemishta, explained that the project will first connect the major business owners to the taxation administration. The latter are classified as such because they realize annual revenues larger than 150 million leks. Jemishta aid that the key feature that will make the project work is the new amended legislation that will impose stricter penalties on the trade subjects that do not comply. Named as the challenge of the millennium, the project in Albania is getting significant American funding and expertise in designing proper legal framework for the documentation of all business. In fact, inventory checking will precede the cash registers. 

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.16 - The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) said on Thursday that the business confidence of the Albanian construction sector rose in January on an annual basis and also was higher than it was three months earlier. The confidence index measured minus four points last month, up eight points from January 2006 and four points higher than in October last year, the centre said in a survey .
The ongoing energy crisis in Albania with severe power rationing in December was the major setback for the sector's development according to more than half of the interviewed managers, or 55 percent, said. The list of drawbacks for Albanian construction managers included also slow awarding of building permits, insufficient demand, unfair competition from the grey economy and corrupt public administration. The confidence indicator for the sector is based on managers' assessments of number of orders, business activity for the previous three months and contracted works, and expectations about the employment in the sector and prices. The January survey is based on interviews with managers of 187 building companies in the regions of Tirana, Durres, Vlore, Fier, Elbasan and Shkoder.
Since the first release, the index has been positive only twice - the first time in October 2003 when it measured five points, and the second time - in April 2005 when it stood at four points. CRD is an independent non-profit organization based in Tirana. It has been releasing its confidence index quarterly since January 2002.
The results of the survey are summarized below: 
                    [post_title] =>  Construction confidence rises 
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                    [post_content] => BRUSSELS, Feb.16 - EU ministers have been asked to approve a trade deal negotiated by the European Commission and Albania, liberalizing sales of various footwear and textile production input lines.
                    [post_title] =>  EU considers lower duties for Albania's shoe and yarn duties 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.17 - The Albanian transport ministry's spokeswoman Erla Mehilli said that Slovenian construction company SCT had started building a $11.7 million (8.9 million euro) stretch of motorway in northern Albania. This is part of a key transport corridor linking the country with the neighboring U.N.-run Kosova. SCT won an open international tender closed late last year and the contract was signed last month. The company will build a nine-kilometer stretch between Milot and Shkurraj, both in the north. Construction is scheduled to complete in early 2009, according to the statement issued by the transport ministry. The World Bank, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Albanian government are the donors for the estimated cost of $41 million .The whole segment was divided into three lots as work on the other two is expected to begin this spring. The Milot-Shkurraj stretch is part of a larger, 26-kilometre highway between Milot and Rreshen that forms part of the Albania-crossing Durres-Kukes-Morine highway designed to link Albania's largest Adriatic port of Durres and Prishtina, the administrative centre of Kosovo.
                    [post_title] =>  Slovenian SCT starts work on motorway  
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 6 - Officials of the European Union and the Albanian government met for two days Thursday-Friday to discuss a series of issues in the context of the Stabilization and Association Agreement work which the tiny Balkan country signed last June. The talks concentrated in Albania's obligations on transport, energy, environment and regional development. Albanian authorities explained what has already been done and what they expect to complete in the future. Albania has also signed the European Agreement of Civil Aviation which has set some obligation to be completed by the country. "The European Union is convinced the application of these agreements will bring important profit to Albania," according to a statement. An efficient management of the energy sector would be vital for the country's future of economy and its citizen's life.
                    [post_title] =>  EU-Albanian meeting on energy and regional development 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.19 - Foreign debt will reach the value of 380 million euro according o the latest government decisions to finance public investments. On the other hand the government has recruited an debt assessment company, Moody's which is expected to release its first report in less than two months. The report will include realistic estimations on the debt capacity of the Albanian government and thus clear the way for more loan requests. Up until now Albania has received soft loan but currently s interested in commercial loans. The latter have higher interest rates and will ad up to the inherited debt form the Communist times. Debt per capita is estimated to be around $ 530, almost a fourth of revenue per capita. Specialist economist opinions are split on the issue. There are those who consider it a very high figure for a country at grips with a prolonged transition and there are others who believe debt is at normal levels. The rate of debt increase is at 15 percent. BoA report on debt shows that by the end of 2006 foreign debt reached 1.674 billion, an increase of $220million or 15 percent since 2005.  In terms of GDP, debt is almost 22 percent. The main debtor is naturally the government with 78 percent of the total share, or around $1.299 billion. Government loans such as those from the IMF, which alone reach 6.1 million are the main elements of foreign debt. 
The breakdown of the debt used according to the areas in need follows in the table:

Energy			29 %
Transportation		22 %
Local government	19 %
Urban infrastructure	8 %

Unpaid debt of around $ 84 million keeps being rescheduled at higher interest rates and unfavorable conditions according to data made available from Boa. The main countries to which Albania owns rescheduled debt are Russia and China. After the change of the regime though the direction of debt has shifted to countries like Italy and Germany with 25 and 40 percent of new debt respectively. The private sector has also received loans form abroad. In 2006 this figure increased by $ 53 million 
                    [post_title] =>  Government to increase foreign debt, leverage needed for investment 
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                    [post_content] => Denim Air, the leading European regional airline ACMI specialist, has put into service one Fokker 50 on an ACMI lease with Tirana based Albanian Airlines.  The contract is for an initial six months.  The aircraft (serial number PH-KXM) now sporting Albanian Airlines' livery, will complement Albanian's BAE 146 fleet based in Tirana, principally serving scheduled routes to Kosovo, Bari, Athens and Pristina. "Operations got off to a good start on Monday this week," commented Christian Heinzmann, the airline's CEO.  Heinzmann joined the airline last November having previously served as CEO of Luxair and Managing Director of VLM Belgian Airlines.  Christian has also held senior positions at Air Europe and Sobelair.  "Denim Air was the natural choice when we needed additional capacity.  The airline has an excellent reputation in the marketplace, can always provide aircraft and crews quickly and can offer us a complete turnkey package of support." Albanian Airlines is owned by Mr Nasser Mohamed Al Kharafi, owner and chairman of the highly successful Al Kharafi Group of Kuwait.  He has firm expansion plans for the airline and strong interests in Albania.  These include upgrading the BAe 146 fleet (Albanian has a 146-100, -200 and -300 series) with up to four new 100-seat jets and Heinzmann is leading the studies on this.  A decision is anticipated by September this year. Initially established in 1992 between Albtransport and regional carrier Tyrolean Airways of Austria, the carrier became Albanian Airlines in 1995.  It currently flies some 200,000 passengers on a European network which embraces Athens, Bologna, Turin, Rome and Bari in Italy, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Pristina.  Brussels joins the network by the end of March and a return to London Stansted is being appraised for later this year.  Albanian Airlines also offers charter flights to Sharm al Sheik in Egypt.
Matthijs Boertien, CEO of Denim Air, said:  "We are delighted to have secured this contract with Albanian Airlines to operate out of Tirana.  It is also a pleasure to assist Christian Heinzmann, who we know extremely well, in advancing his new strategy for Albanian Airlines, an airline which is well funded and has a terrific future."
Denim Air provides flexible aircraft and crew capacity to regional airlines, offering tailor-made solutions to suit the needs of the regional aviation industry.  The airline holds an unrestricted AOC and operates as an all-round service provider for commercial airlines.  During 2006 Denim Air performed more than 35,000 scheduled flights on behalf of international operators.
                    [post_title] =>  Albanian Airlines charters Denim Air 
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            [ID] => 101460
            [post_author] => 68
            [post_date] => 2007-02-24 01:00:00
            [post_date_gmt] => 2007-02-24 01:00:00
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb.20 - the end of the electoral process is due to bring back the long dark hours of power cuts in the majority of Albania's cities. Long power cuts of 8 hours have started in the southern city of Fier and will start to be implemented again throughout the country. The Emergency group created by the Ministry of Economy, trade and energy related to the energy crisis has confirmed that since production and import levels have not changed much in the positive direction power cuts are back on the agenda. Andi Beli, executive head of the state monopoly KESH which runs the energy system, said that the promise of supplying electricity to the electoral centers until the last vote was counted was kept by his corporation. This statement has been contested since many problems related to power supply were noticed in some of the electoral zones. 
The Fireza lake is still at low levels given the lack of rains, and stand sat 261 meters. Imports and local production are both at the general level of 10 million kW/h. the schedule of the power cuts is expected to bring back 4-6 hours of energy lack in the main urban areas and almost 12 hours for rural ones. The emergency group has most of the rights in taking decisions related to energy in this period. The order to supply 24 hours the electoral center was given by Prime Minister Berisha and contested by experts who said that the Fierza Lake could not sustain it. Specialists used the Drini cascade in the other hydropower utilities along the river bed avoiding thus the collapse of the main power plant. 
            [post_title] =>  Elections done, crisis back 
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            [post_name] => elections-done-crisis-back_101460
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            [post_modified] => 2007-02-24 01:00:00
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2007-02-24 01:00:00
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