Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 26th

Saturday, 26th of June

Foreign investments have grown by one-forth
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Lithuania reached LTL 643.3 million in Q1 2004, a rise of 23.3 percent or LTL 121.5 million from the respective period in 2003.
FDI inflows in the first three months of this year exceeded the total Lithuania’s FDI for 2003, which made up LTL 552.2 million.
The Bank of Lithuania has reported that the accumulated FDI made LTL 14.2 billion as of March 31, a 3.6 percent rise from January 1.
FDI per capita stood at LTL 4,130, rising by 3.9 percent in the reporting period.
Lietuvos Zinios

VP Market launches imports of wine from South America, Africa and Australia
The largest retail operator in the Baltic states, VP Market, started using possibilities provided by Lithuania’s membership in the European Union – the company has launched imports of wine from South America, Africa and Australia.
At the end of this week, Lithuania’s customers will have a possibility to buy wine produced in Chile, Australia, California, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Portugal or Mexico. In total, 51 thousand litres of red, white and rouge wine have been imported to the country.
Ignas Staskevicius, the CEO of VP Market, says that the company has not been importing whines itself so far, yet after the country’s accession to the European Union, new possibilities appeared.
In the near future, VP Market is planning to start importing cognac from France and also more than 10 kinds of beer including Becks, Stella Artois, Pilsner Urquell and Krombacher.
Over the five months of this year, VM Market reached turnover of LTL 1.62 billion in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, a rise of 19.4 percent from January-May 2003.

Panevezys-based Linas, the largest linen textile manufacturer in the Baltic countries, has announced a turnover of LTL 35.509 million for the first five months of 2004, a rise of 19.2 percent from the sales of LTL 29.793 million recorded for January-May period of the previous year.
“The growing sales volume was predetermined by higher demand for linen production, high production quality and fashion trends”, Romualdas Mazylis, Linas’ spokesman, said.
Lietuvos Rytas

Friday, 25th of June

ERGO Lietuva changes the terms for CASCO insurance
Beginning July, ERGO Lietuva will apply a new methodology for calculation of CASCO insurance payments while damage will be covered after the evaluation of property at the moment of an accident. Besides, drivers will be offered a partial CASCO insurance that will be up to 40 percent cheaper.
After evaluating the risk of theft, repair expenses, age and value, all automobiles will be classified into 100 types.
“Following the new methodology, CASCO insurance will get cheaper for cars that will be attributed to the types of lower risk”, Audrius Pilsicas”, the head of department of third party liability, accidents, vehicles and health insurance at ERGO Lietuva, says.
Another Lithuanian insurance company Lietuvos Draudimas says it has also prepared a similar product, however the company does not rush to present it, as there is no demand for it in the market as yet.
Verslo Zinios

Utena-based meat company Mesa has been working detrimentally
Utena-based meat processing company Mesa incurred a loss of LTL 1.88 million last year, a decline of 4.4 times if compared to the year 2002 when the loss made LTL 8.24 million.
The company boosted its turnover by 71.3 percent up to LTL 33.56 million in 2003.
This year, Mesa is planning to reach turnover of LTL 40 million, which us by 20 percent higher than that of 2003.
Verslo Zinios

Russians are already extracting oil from the Baltic Sea
LUKoil oil concern has extracted the first barrels of oil in Kravcovskoje mine (D-6) in Kur_i_ Sea.
The mine is exploited by the secondary company of the Russian LUKoil, LUKoil Kaliningradmorneft.
The company fills an underwater route of pipeline that connects the Kravcovskoje mine with a port in Pionersky. The overall length of the pipeline makes 90 kilometres including the 37 kilometres on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Some 70 thousand tons of oil will be extracted from D-6 by the end of this year. The mine will be exploited for some 30-35 years. Investments into the mine will make some LTL 750 million. Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 23rd of June

The end of the beer war
Products of Svyturys-Utenos Alus are expected to show up on the shelves of stores of VP Market, the largest retail chain in the Baltic countries. “It is important whether the company is going pursue normal competition with other beer producers or will strive to stimulate a rise in prices. Svyturys-Utenos Alus has pledged in writing to pursue sound competition, which is very important for us”, Ignas Staskevicius, CEO of VP Market, said.
He refused, however, to reveal any “commercial particulars” of agreement, stating that, with the deal implemented, the price of beer might decline.
Meanwhile, Tomas Kucinskas, CEO of Svyturys-Utenos Alus and vice-president of BBH, claimed that the deal with VP Market would not lead to any changes in the prices of beer produced by the company. However, according to Kucinskas, changes would depend on the situation on the market and, perhaps, on the imports of beer.
Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Salary of most Lithuanians does not exceed LTL 600
More than one-third of working people were paid less than LTL 600 per month in Lithuania at the end of last year; one-fifth was working for a minimum salary and one-fourth were paid more than LTL 2,000, the Department of Statistics has reported.
The biggest salaries are paid in the state administration, state defence and social security sectors. In this group, 18.4 percent of employees were paid LTL 1,201 to 1,500, 23.8 percent – LTL 1,501 to 2,000, 20.9 percent – LTL 2,001 to 3,000 and 5.1 percent – LTL 3,501 to 5,000.
In the state sector, the salary of LTL 1,201 to 1,500 is dominating – the sum is paid to 14.3 percent of the sector’s employees.
Lietuvos Rytas

New markets boost profit for Vilniaus Baldai
Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture), one of Lithuania’s leading furniture manufacturers, reported pre-tax earnings of LTL 3.722 million for the first five months of 2004, a surge of 34.3 percent if compared to the respective period last year.
“A rise in profits came in amid a decline in sales to Swedish IKEA concern and a growth in sales on other Western markets, which offer a better profit margin. The British market, which we entered several months ago, is particularly successful for us”, Vygantas Didziulis, the CEO of Vilniaus Baldai, says.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 22nd of June

Leaders conciliate because peace is more profitable
The market leader UAB Svyturys-Utenos Alus might return to the biggest retail trade chain of Lithuania before the St. John’s Day, this week already. The brewery lost the biggest buyer of its production in early June. Both parties claim that they did not suffer losses over the given period because their beer sales have increased if compared to the relevant period last year but they do not conceal that they wish to achieve a compromise as soon as possible.
Ignas Staskevicius, CEO of VP Market, claims that the agreement will be achieved, as it is useful for both parties. According to him, the trade chain is clarifying now whether they will continue cooperating with the brewery based on the current contract or will sign a new, longer contract.
Meanwhile market experts claim that both parties must have suffered losses. Even though Svyturys-Utenos Alus boosted export and sales in other outlets, its transport expenses increased as well. Withdrawal of the leading brewery from VP Market chain resulted in the reduced beer turnover of the chain.
Verslo Zinios

Bigger premiums – bigger market
Lithuanian's compulsory motor third-party liability insurance market grew by 9.8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL145.354 million in the first five months of this year, according to preliminary data released by the country's Insurance Supervisory Commission.
The regulatory authority said the premiums rose after a new EU-compliant law on compulsory motor insurance, which has substantially increased the amount of compulsory insurance cover, took effect on May 1.
In May, eleven companies providing compulsory motor insurance coverage recorded total written premiums of LTL 51 million, almost a four-fold increase from the same period a year ago. On a month-on-month basis, the rise was 5.8 percent.
Verslo Zinios

Sanitas has been given a certificate for ampoule production
Sanitas, the biggest producer of pharmaceuticals in Lithuania, is expected to get the Good Production Practice (GPP) certificate on June 25 for the production of ampoules. Donatas Jazukevi_ius, the CEO of the company, says that the company has mostly been working in the Eastern markets and CIS countries. According to Jazukevi_ius, after getting the certificate, Sanitas will be able to negotiate with the EU partners for the production of medicine.
In January-May this year, Sanitas sold production for LTL 16.005 million, a rise of 30 percent if compared to the respective period last year; direct export rose by 31 percent up to LTL 12.053 million.
The pharmaceutical company is projecting a net profit of LTL 2.77 million for the full year 2004, more than a four-fold increase from the previous year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 21st of June

Three companies will be constructing wind power plants
A commission has acknowledged 3 companies – UAB Vejo Elektra, Lariteksas and Achema Hidrostotys – to be winners of a tender to get permissions to construct wind power plants in the 4th (seaside) zone.
Vejo Elektra is planning to construct 6-MW wind power plants while Lariteksas and Achema Hidrostotys will build 16-MW wind power plants respectively in the zone between Sventoji and Lenkimai.
“Following the order set by the government, winners of the tender have to address the Ministry of Economy with a request to give permission to expand capacity of electricity production within 3 months after the end of the tender”, Vladas Paskevicius, the chairman of the tender and the head of the Energetic System at Lietuvos Energija, says.
Verslo Zinios

Foreign banks are prospecting Lithuania
A total of ten European Union (EU) banks are set to launch their activities in Lithuania, exercising their freedom to provide financial services across the European Union.
The Bank of Lithuania received notifications from Austrian, German and British banking supervisory authorities of the intentions of ten banks registered with those countries to launch business in Lithuania.
"Usually neither of those banks undertakes any moves for no reason, which may lead to a conclusion that they have already made some business in Lithuania. Perhaps, they extended a loan to some entity, traded in securities or offered consulting services," Audrius Misevicius, central bank board member, says.
The banks could establish their branch offices in Lithuania should they desire to develop strong business in the country, he added.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuania’s industry grew by 14.8 percent
The Department of Statistics has reported that Lithuania’s industry grew by 14.8 percent in January-May if compared to the respective period in 2003. Volume of production sold in May alone was by 8.3 percent lower if compared to April, yet by 8.9 bigger than that of May 2003. If to exclude oil products, the industry sales volume increased by 9.6 percent this year, a decline of 1.5 percent month-to-month, yet a rise of 10.1 percent year-to-year.
In May, if compared to April, sales volume of metal products (except machinery and equipment) grew by 12.3 percent while that of textile rose by 10.7 percent.
Lietuvos Zinios

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