2013 was the toughest year for the economy of Albania in the last decade, but banks managed to increase their earnings by 74 per cent to 6.6 BN leks (46.9 million euro) compared to 2012, data from the Bank of Albania shows. Continue reading Bank earnings jump by 74 per cent in Albania
The 2013 US State Department Report on human rights said corruption was the core problem hampering human rights in Albania. Continue reading Corruption in Albania ‘Pervasive’ US Report Says
The Albanian Union of Journalists has condemned cuts of 42 staffers, including 26 editors and journalists, at the Albanian Telegraphic News Agency, ATA. Continue reading Albanian State News Agency Cut in Half
Several groups of protesters blocked the entrance roads to Albania’s Capital Tirana for about two hours while fighting a government decision to block informal vans that offer intercity transport for passengers. Continue reading Protesters block entrance roads to Tirana
Health authorities in Albania are in alarm after 30 years old pregnant women died in the hospital with symptoms of A/H1 pdm09 influenza, local media reports quoting statements from the Ministry of Health. Continue reading Swine Flu causes first death in Albania
Several dozen companies with plans to build several hundred small and medium hydropower plants in Albania were warned lately that the sole purchaser of independently produced electricity, the National Power Corporation, (KESH) could not be able to pay the exorbitant price assigned by the contracts. Continue reading Hydropower plant development projects hit a snag
A probe by Albania’s Competition Authority, CAA, has come short of finding that Vodafone abused its dominant position in the local mobile communications market.
Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana
“From the analysis of the behavior of the company it results that the strategy followed by this operator creates disturbances for competition in the market and negative effects for the competition on a long-term toward smaller companies,” CAA said in its ruling.
“The differentiation of prices for calls outside its network can be sued as a blocking mechanism from big operators toward smaller ones that risk going out of business,” it added.
However, the competition authority underlined that that Vodafone had ‘not abused its dominant position in the market,’ sparing the company of a fine equal to 10 per cent of its annual turnover.
Vodafone Albania was accused by two other mobile operators Plus and AMC, of hampering competition in the market by using its Vodafone Club plan to ensure customers remained as much as possible within its own network.
Apart from Vodafone, three other mobile phone companies operate in the Albanian telecommunications market: Albania Mobile Communications, AMC, Eagle Mobile and Plus Communications.
According to the Competition, in 2012, Vodafone’s market share was 52 per cent, and it had a turnover of 23 billion lek (163.8 million euro) with net profits of 5 billion lek (35.6 million euro) and a profit margin of 23 per cent.
AMC’s market share meanwhile dropped from 42 per cent in 2009 to 32 per cent in 2012.
Revenues for Vodafone and AMC between 2008 and 2012 were 192 billion lek (1.37 billion euro), almost half of Albania’s annual budget, and the two companies registered net profits of 73 billion lek (520 million euro) during that period, with a profit margin ranging from 21 to 60 per cent.
Bankers Petroleum Albania, the main oil extraction company in the country, announced an increase of production by 4.1 % in the last quarter 2013. Continue reading Bankers Petroleum increases production, hit by fiscal changes
A car bomb exploded in Vora, 16 km west of Tirana today, killing one. This was the second explosion allegedly activated through a cell phone in 48 hours.
Local media announces that Baki Xhabafti, 40, was killed in this second explosion, when he entered his car parked near the town hall.
On Wednesday, three men were severely injured by another bomb installed in the entrance of a hotel under the ownership of Armand Ceka, 33, businessman working in the construction sector.
Foreign-funded civil society organisations are serving as a launchpad for political careers, provoking debate over their true function.
Erjona Rusi BIRN Tirana, Podgorica and Amsterdam
The deal to decommission Syria’s chemical weapons did not calm its civil war, but it has brought gas masks and a new civic spirit onto the streets of Albania. Continue reading Politics By Other Means: Balkan NGOs Breed MPs