Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 27th

Saturday, 3rd of July

Meat prices will continue growing alongside export rise
Lithuania's exports of livestock surged by 96.4 percent, year-on-year, to 11,180 heads in the first six months of 2004.
In June alone, Lithuania's exports of livestock hit 1,720 heads, a twofold rise from June 2003, the State Food and Veterinary Service has reported.
The country's exports of cows made up 3,290 heads in the January-to-June period, a surge of 84.8 percent from the first half of previous year. The major part of livestock was channelled to Spain, Holland and Germany.
The demand in Lithuania's livestock was particularly strong on foreign markets due to lower prices of Lithuanian cattle, said Audrius Rudys, president of Lithuanian Association of Meat Processing Enterprises.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Ignalina NP produced less electricity this year
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) generated 8.062 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) and sold 7.438 billion kWh of electricity during the first six months of this year, a 0.8 percent decline year-on-year.
In June, when the INPP operated at half capacities after the shutdown of one unit for maintenance, the power plant generated 960 million kWh and sold 885 million kWh of electricity, a surge of 21.1 percent from June 2003.
The Ignalina plant, which generates around 80 percent of Lithuania's total electricity output, said its annual power output reached 15.484 billion kWh in 2003, a 9.5 percent increase over the previous year. It posted a 10.5 percent growth in electricity sales, to 14.250 kWh, last year.
This year the plant's annual sales are forecast to decline to some 13 billion kWh of electricity.
The INPP posted a net profit of LTL 15.7 million for 2003.
Kauno Diena

Kremlin threw down Yukos
The Russian Ministry of Finance has announced that the oil extraction giant Yukos owes USD 3.4 billion taxes for the year 2001, not including the taxing liabilities for 2000. The court ruled that the company must pay the debt in five days, i.e. until July 5. The situation of Yukos complicated even more after all the accounts of the company were frozen without the previous warning.
A week ago, Viktor Gerascenka, who was elected the chairman of Yukos Directors’ Board, warned about the possibility of oil export suspension but he said this would not take place in the nearest future.
Giedrius Karsokas, head of the Communications Department of the Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta (MN) reported that the Russian oil concern continued supplying oil to MN. Yukos is the operator of the Lithuanian oil refinery.
Lithuania’s minister of economy Petras Cesna confirmed that the Government was analyzing how the problems of Yukos might affect Mazeikiu Nafta.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Friday, 2nd of July

Guinness beer did not answer hopes
The Lithuanian leading brewery Svyturys-Utenos Alus, controlled by the Scandinavian concern Baltic Beverages Holding, stopped distributing the Irish beer Guinness on tap in Lithuania as of June 30.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus has handed over the rights to distribute Guinness beer in Lithuania to Mineraliniai Vandenys controlled by MG Baltic.
Dainius Smailys, a spokesman for Svyturys-Utenos Alus, said the brewery decided to focus on the marketing of its own products therefore it sold the Guinness distribution rights.
Lietuvos Rytas

Ukio Bankas allured Samsung
Money of the powerful South Korean corporation Samsung has reached Lithuania’s Ukio Bankas. According to the sources of Lietuvos Rytas, Samsung remitted USD 1.5 million to Lithuania on Thursday.
Liutauras Varanavicius, board chairman of Ukio Bankas, said that Samsung has issued a syndicated loan that can be converted to the bank’s shares. The agreement with Samsung foresees that the corporation is to remit USD 3 million sum. The other part of money is to reach the bank in 2005.
According to Varanavicius, it has not been decided yet whether bank’s shares will be sold to the Korean corporation.
Last year, the bank netted LTL 4.9 million, while its capital amounted to LTL 109 million at the beginning of the year.
Lietuvos Rytas

Property was sold for LTL 201 million in half a year
The State Property Fund of Lithuania reports that 133 privatisation deals were concluded in January-June 2004. The state and local governments sold their property for the sum of LTL 201.27 million over the given period, or 1.8 times more than over the relevant period last year.
According to the State Property Fund, the largest transaction of the first half-year was the sell-off of the National Stock Exchange of Lithuania to the Scandinavian bourse operator OMHEX. The other big transactions were privatisation of the alcohol company Alita, Kruonio Hidroakumuliacines Elektrines Statybos (Kruonis Hydro-Accumulation Power Plant Construction), Lithuanian cinema, Elektra hotel and sell-off of 34 percent stake in the Lithuanian gas company Lietuvos Dujos to the Russian company Gazprom.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 1st of July

Pension funds have not conquered the market
The second stage of the pension reform ended peacefully, people were less active than during the first stage of the reform. Even though the heads of pension funds claim that the results have surpassed hopes again, saturation of this market has been postponed for 4-5 years.
Last year, 441.61 thousand working residents of Lithuania signed pension accumulation agreements, while this year 12 companies offering pension insurance signed over 91,000 contracts.
The biggest player of the pension fund market is Hansabankas group, which has merged with Lietuvos Draudimo Gyvybes Draudimas, with 45,000 pension accumulation agreements. VB Investiciju Valdymas signed over 16,000 agreements and remained one of the leaders, too. Commercial Union Lietuva Gyvybes Draudimas and Nord/LB Investiciju Valdymas have retained their market positions as well.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Lietuvos Dujos will expand gas main to Kaliningrad
Lithuania's natural gas company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), which is controlled by German and Russian investors, will expand the capacities of Lithuania's section of gas mains Minsk-Vilnius-Kaunas-Kaliningrad.
The board of the utility charged the company to act as a contracting authority for the expansion of Lithuania's section of gas mains to secure the annual supply of 1.05 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Kaliningrad region, starting from 2006.
The government sold a 34 percent stake in Lietuvos Dujos to Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, earlier this year. Among other things, the deal calls for the construction of an additional gas pipeline from Kaunas to the country's border with Kaliningrad by the end of 2005 to increase the capacity for gas shipments to the Russian exclave.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Construction prices rise, household prices will grow, too
Construction prices in Lithuania grew by 2.2 percent in May from April, driven higher by rising wages and other expenses. The rise was 5.7 percent in year-on-year terms, the country's Statistics Department has reported.
Residential construction, which accounts for 18.7 percent of the total construction volumes, grew 2.5 percent more expensive over a month, while on the yearly basis its prices increased by 6.4 percent.
Prices of non-residential construction, which constitutes 42.7 percent of the total construction volumes, increased 2.4 percent in May.
Specialists of Nord/LB Lietuva forecast that the salary of constructionists will increase by 15 percent over a year due to the opened European Union’s labour market.
Wages and other expenses increased by 5.1 percent over the month.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Wednesday, 30th of June

Rivers of cider
Lithuania’s cider market continues to grow rapidly in 2004, with Ragutis, Svyturys-Utenos Alus and Alita maintaining their positions as the country's top three cider producers.
Ragutis, the number one cider producer, aims to double sales of Fizz cider to 2.5 million litres this year, from 1.186 million litres sold last year.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus, Lithuania’s leading brewery in terms of beer sales, posted a 58 percent rise in sales of Kiss cider to 465,000 litres in 2003, which puts it into second position among the cider producers. The company claims it is currently holding a 30 percent share of the domestic cider market.
Alita, one of the biggest strong beverages producers in Lithuania, aims to boost its share of the domestic cider market by around 4.7 points to 20 percent this year.
Stumbras, Lithuania’s biggest vodka maker, and Anyksciu Vynas, the largest wine maker, also produce cider. There is a choice of imported cider in the market as well.
Lietuvos Zinios

Philip Morris Lietuva to invest another USD 20 million
Philip Morris Lietuva is planning to invest USD 20 million into an expansion of is factory in Klaipeda. Representatives of the company say that the investments will enable to raise the annual production capacity of the tobacco factory up to 20 billion cigarettes. Last year, the company manufactured some 5 billion cigarettes.
“The investment in advanced technologies and expansion of production capacities will provide additional possibilities for supplying products to other EU-based units of the company and for export to other countries”, Raman Berent, Philip Morris general manager for the Baltic countries, says.
Philip Morris Lietuva supplies Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian markets with tobacco products.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Family insurance boosts income of Bonum Publicum
In January-May, UAB Bonum Publicum life insurance company signed premiums of LTL 1.23 million, a rise of 53 percent if compared to the respective period last year when the figure amounted to LTL 0.8 million.
Head of the company says that the growth was predetermined by the expanded network of consultants as well as favourable terms and high quality of the company’s services.
Verslo Zinios

Tax collection failures – a chronic Lithuania’s disease
Tax collection failures in the country has grown into a chronic disease because of which the ratio of consolidated budget revenues with gross domestic product (GDP) decreased further ensuring to Lithuania the very last position among the EU member countries, the latest macroeconomic review by NORD/LB Lietuva, the third largest bank in Lithuania, says.
The experts of the bank noted in their review that the state's financial results looked rather controversial. The country's fiscal deficit was 1.7 percent in 2003, considerably lower than in other EU candidate countries; however the public revenues accounted for 32.4 percent of GDP only. The bank experts looked surprised mostly because of the further decrease of the said ratio last year. In Latvia and Estonia this figure was higher, standing at 36.3 and 45.6 percent respectively.
According to the bank's analysts, faulty tax administration creates grounds for unfair competition and hinders the efforts to reduce individual income tax tariffs.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 29th of June

There will be no revolution at Anyksciu Vynas
The alcoholic drinks producer Alita, future owner of the winery Anyksciu Vynas, says it will not start any revolutionary changes in the winemaker, Vilmantas Peciura, the head of finances and administration at Alita said.
“As its operations are fairly well known to us, we are not planning on conducting another audit in the company. After the privatisation, it will continue to operate as it did before the privatisation. The future strategy of the company has not been discussed yet”, Peciura said.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Fuel prices have gone up again
Fuel prices, which slightly decreased during Jonines festival, came back to the normal level yesterday again. All kinds of fuel rose in price on average by 6 ct/litre on Monday. Karsokas, a representative of Mazeikiu Nafta, says that wholesale fuel prices did not change during the recent weeks, but they might rise in the nearest future.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Assets have been growing
The aggregate assets of the Lithuanian commercial banks and two foreign bank branches reached 23.287 billion litas at the end of May, a rise of 9 percent from the end of 2003.
The commercial banks' combined loan portfolio grew by 13 percent to 13.193 billion litas during the five months. Aggregate special provisions made up 137.9 million litas, rising by 13.3 percent from the end of 2003.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 28th of June

Influence of insurance brokers is growing
During the first quarter of this year, insurance premiums of LTL 64.91 million were signed under the mediation of broker companies. If compared to the respective period in 2003, the figure rose by 14.2 percent, the Insurance Supervisory Committee has reported.
In January-March, Lithuania’s insurance companies signed premiums of LTL 208.2 million, a decline of 8.3 percent if compared to the respective period in 2004. Broker companies got 31.2 percent of the signed premiums.
Verslo Zinios

Bankruptcy stroke investors that had promised goldmines
The US corporation Penninox-America failed to construct a modern company of steel products – after having run into debts for state institutions and Klaipeda municipality, Americans decided to withdraw from Lithuania.
Penninox-America claimed they would invest LTL 45 million into the project while turnover of the new company would make LTL 276 million. However, the company has not been built at all. The investors have also left the established secondary company Penninox-Baltija – the company has not been liquidated as yet while employees have not been paid for work.
The debt of Penninox-America for the Tax Inspection, Sodra and the employees of the secondary company makes LTL 200 thousand.
Nobody succeeded to retrieve the money – the company has announced its bankruptcy.
Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuania has joined ERM2
According to unofficial data, Lithuania completed negotiations with the European Union on joining the EU's exchange rate system, the ERM2 mechanism.
Lithuania’s minister of finance Algirdas Butkevicius confirmed yesterday that Lithuania’s request was discussed in Brussels, yet he refused to comment on the decisions.
Reinoldijus Sarkinas, the head f the Central Bank of Lithuania, also did not want to talk about the results of the negotiation.
Kauno Diena

Lietuva Statoil boosted its turnover by 18.6 percent
UAB Lietuva Statoil that controls the second largest chain of gas stations in Lithuania boosted its turnover by 18.6 percent last year up to LTL 496.644 million (VAT excluded).
Presently, 53 Lietuva Statoil gas stations and also 4 automatic gas stations 1-2-3 are operating in 14 Lithuania’s towns.
Verslo Zinios

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