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Latvijas Balzams: Alcohol sales on Estonian-Latvian border not expected to grow in 2018

RIGA – Alcohol sales on the Estonian-Latvian border are not expected to grow next year, chairman of the board of the Latvijas Balzams distillery Intars Geidans said.

He said that the Estonian government, being aware of the residents' active shopping trips to Latvia, changed its decision and raised excise tax on alcohol by half less than originally planned. It means that next year prices of alcoholic beverages in Latvia and Estonia will not differ as much as in 2017, therefore Latvia should carefully consider further raising the excise tax rate in 2019.

Geidans said that sales of alcohol in the border area account for 20 percent of the whole market and it is a very high indicator. He also said that it is not possible to predict what next year will bring in the alcohol sector in relation to the government's indecisiveness and unpredictability in its decisions regarding regulations of the alcohol market.

Latvijas Balzams in the first nine months of this year posted 55.54 million euros in sales, up 1.7 percent from the respective period last year, while the company's profit declined 7.9 percent to 4.591 million euros. Shares in Latvijas Balzams are quoted on the Secondary List of the Nasdaq Riga stock exchange.

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