Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 36th

Saturday, 4th of September

Lithuania's unemployment rate edged down by 0.3 percentage points in August, compared with July, to reach 6.4 percent, the country's Labour Exchange has reported.Compared with August 2003, the unemployment rate declined by 1.2 percentage points. The number of officially registered unemployed people was 134,800 as of September 1, a decrease of 3.4 percent or 4,700 jobless, compared with previous month. The annual decline was 14.6 percent or 23,000 jobless.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena

One-third of Alna Biuro Sistemos was sold
Baltic Investment Fund, the largest Baltic venture capital fund, has acquired 35.01 percent in Alnos Biuro Sistemos, the specialty office solution developer, from Valentinas Milaknis, the major shareholder of the company and the owner of stake in Alna, the leading Lithuania's IT group. Financial details have not been disclosed. The remaining 64.99 percent in Alnos Biuro Sistemos will be under direct management of Alna.
Lietuvos Zinios

Major poultry farms recorded increase of sales
Sales of Kaisiadoriu Paukstynas and Vilniaus Paukstynas, two largest poultry farms of Lithuania, have continued to climb rapidly on soaring demand for poultry in both the domestic and foreign markets. The turnover of Vilniaus Paukstynas amounted to LTL 54.77 million in the first eight months of 2004, a 34.2 percent year-on-year increase. In August alone, the poultry farm posted sales worth LTL 8.02 million, which was 48.4 percent more against August of 2003. Eight-month sales of Kaisiadoriu Paukstynas stood at LTL 34.73 million, showing a hike of 46.8 percent from a year ago. The poultry producer sold LTL 4.73 million worth of produce in August only, a year-on-year surge of 66.8 percent.
Kauno Diena

Friday, 3rd of September

Bank Snoras was the first to be fined
On Thursday, after considering the results of inspections in Snoras, the fourth largest Lithuanian commercial bank in terms of assets, the board of the Bank of Lithuania ordered it to pay a fine of LTL 54,000. The fine was imposed on Snoras for shortcomings in its operations accounts for 0.05 percent of the bank's income in 2003.
Also, the central bank ruled to introduce extra risk restrictions on the operations of Snoras. The gross sum of loans granted by the bank to its subsidiaries (except Snoro Lizingas), must not exceed 50 percent of the bank's capital.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Olympics increased the sales of Montavit
Svyturio-Utenos Alus, the leading beer producer in Lithuania, boosted the sales of its mineral water Montavit significantly in the first seven months of 2004. From January through July, sales of mineral water in litres went up 42 percent year-on-year to 2.5 million litres. In August alone, sales climbed 43 percent to 0.5 million litres.
Rolandas Virsila, head of the brewery, said the decision of the company to become a major sponsor of Lithuania's national basketball team was the major reason for such an impressive increase in sales.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Snaige, the Lithuanian refrigerator manufacturer, posted a 20.5 percent rise in pretax earnings for the first eight months of 2004, with its revenues up by 13.1 percent.
Snaige announced on Thursday a preliminary pretax profit of LTL 25.9 million for the eight months ended August 31, up from a pretax profit of LTL 21.5 million in the same period a year ago. Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 2nd of September

Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe, the second leading brewery of Lithuania by domestic sales, on Wednesday sent the first batch of beer to Spain. This market of a European Union member is the sixth overseas outlet for Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe. The number two Lithuanian brewery shares one-fifth of the domestic beer market. The group has been exporting beer to the US, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, and Latvia.
Lietuvos Rytas

Plane trips will painfully affect the purse
Starting from today, national carrier Lietuvos Avialinijos (Lithuanian Airlines or LAL) has doubled the extra fee for fuel from LTL 14 to LTL 28 for a one-way journey because of the rising world oil prices. The change will be applied to all regular flights. The heads of LAL claim that the doubled fuel tax will cover only a part of the losses the company incurred due to the growing world oil prices. The latter fee is to compensate the costs of flight that have increased by more than one-third. LAL does not plan to change flight tariff though: one-way tickets to the EU countries will cost from LTL 150. LAL introduced fuel fee at LTL 14 since for the first time on June 5.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Reacting to the actions of competitors, Omnitel is to cut multimedia messaging services’ (MMS) prices by one-third since the beginning of September. MMS will cost LTL 1 (previously LTL 1.5) for the constant subscribers and the users of prepaid payment service Extra. The users of Extra will be able to send MMS to the network of Bite GSM as of September 1.
Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 1st of September

Profit of Lukoil Baltija declined
Consolidated net earnings by LUKoil Baltija, the owner of the largest Lithuania's chain of gas stations, plunged threefold, to LTL 3.7 million in the first half of 2004 on the back of decline in gasoline sale price margin.
Consolidated sales by LUKoil Baltija and LUKoil Baltija Servisas, the operator of the chain, grew by 4.1 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 540.6 million, from LTL 519.3 million in the first half of 2003.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tele2 cuts tariffs for all communication services
Tele2 has said it will cut tariffs for all communication services from 10 to 28 percent as of September. Tele2 is curtailing call charges within the network of Tele2 for individual users of payment plans Joker Family and Joker Standard from LTL 0.35 to LTL 0.25 per minute. Charges of calls to all networks under the payment plan Joker Leisure will be reduced from LTL 0.69 to LTL 0.59 per minute during peak hours. Corporate customers will be charged a new price of LTL 0.03 a minute for all internal calls.
Verslo Zinios

Banks posted growth of 15 percent this year
Total assets of ten commercial banks and one foreign bank currently operating in Lithuania at the end of July reached LTL 24.113 billion, a rise of 15.4 percent than in the beginning of the year (LTL 20.892 billion). Loan portfolio of commercial banks at the end of July stood at LTL 13.416 billion, an increase of 14.9 percent since the beginning of the year.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 31st of August

Bite GSM to lure business clients
Jesper Theil Eriksen, CEO of Bite GSM, and Darius Montvila, vice director for business, said in a pres conference yesterday the company is to introduce a new pricing for business clients with regard to the business segment they operate in. Bite GSM is to cut tariffs in its network for business companies the employees of which mainly communicate with each other. The mobile operator also plans to reduce call tariffs for the employees of the companies which call to the other networks. Montvila, however, did not disclose how much the tariffs would be reduced.
Relying on the data presented by market research company Spinter Rinkos Tyrimai, the share of business clients of Bite GSM expanded at a rapid pace in the period of January-to-June of 2004. The operator controlled 29 percent of business market in the beginning of 2004, while after six months it owned 31.2 percent of the abovementioned market.
Omnitel had 61.9 percent and 59.3 percent of the business market in the respective period; meanwhile Tele2 controlled 6.9 percent and 7 percent market shares.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian industry develops at the fastest rate
Lithuania's industry took the track of fastest growth among three Baltic countries in the first half of 2004. Lithuania's industrial output surged by 13.4 percent in the January-to-June period, compared with the year-earlier figure. In Latvia and Estonia the rise was 7.9 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively, the Statistics Department reported on Monday.
Verslo Zinios

Snaige refrigerators suits Africans, too
Refrigerators of Lithuania's Snaige may soon reach Africa, the third continent after Europe and Asia, which will be discovered by household refrigerator producer.
The Alytus-based company has already forwarded its first batches of refrigerators to the Republic of Guinea, Western Africa, which is the 40th sales market for Snaige.
Moreover, the company issued the first batch of refrigerators to Georgia.
Lithuanian producer of refrigerators doubled its sales in Kazakhstan in the first seven months of 2004, in year-on-year terms. Moreover, the company entered the markets of Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekhistan, and other CIS states. The company has also launched exports to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Monday, 30th of August

Number of internet users in households doubled over the last year
According to the research of TNS Gallup, internet usage in Lithuania’s households amounted to 7.7 percent last summer and increased to 9.8 percent by spring 2004. Based on the preliminary data, internet usage rate is to reach 11.6 percent in Lithuanian households at the end of the year.
A research conducted in spring disclosed that 30 percent of Lithuanian households had computers, thus the potential of new internet users in the segment is really big.
Arunas Siksta, CEO of Lietuvos Telekomas, reported that based on TNS Gallup’ poll, LT controls 47 percent of the internet market. Cable TV operators control 19 percent of the market, Omnitel – 5 percent, Delfi – 2 percent, other internet service providers – 27 percent.
LT leads in the business sector as well. A poll of 1,050 country’s companies revealed that LT had 59 percent of the internet market, Omnitel – 6 percent, Delfi and Baltnetos Komunikacijos controlled 4 percent of the market each, Bite GSM – 2 percent, other providers – 25 percent.
Revenues of Lietuvos Telekomas from the internet and data transmission sector increased 6.7 percent, to LTL 62.982 million, over the first half of the year. The number of the internet service DSL Takas users increased 2.2 times, to 31.8 thousand, in a year.
Kauno Diena

Vereins-und Westbank took over big client of Vilniaus Bankas
UAB Philip Morris Lietuva (PML) started using e-banking services of Vereins-und Westbank (VWB) because Vilniaus Bankas, which has been providing services to the tobacco company so far, has not met the security requirements. The German bank claims that the cigarette producer is one of its top five biggest clients in Lithuania.
Ausra Balciuniene, corporate affairs executive of PML, said the company started working with Vereins-und Westbank because this bank fully meets the requirements of e-banking. She says PML analysed the market situation and chose the best banking service provider.
Rimvydas Morkunas, head of E-Banking Department of VWB, claims that the requirements of PML are related to security of the operations performed. The service provided by the bank guarantees that the money will reach the recipient and the operations can be tracked with a second-precision.
Verslo Zinios

PZU group aims at province
The Polish insurer PZU, which is going to merge the insurance companies that it controls in Lithuania by the end of the year, claims that it will focus not only on big clients but on peripheries as well.
In spring, PZU acquired the insurance subsidiaries of NORD/LB Lietuva bank – Nord/LB Draudimas (Nord/LB Insurance) and Nord/LB Gyvybes Draudimas (Nord/LB Life Insurance). The merger of these companies with the previously acquired insurers UAB DK Lindra and UAB Lindra Gyvybes Draudimas in two life and non-life insurance companies has already begun.
PZU group follows aggressive strategy. At present, it controls nearly 17 percent of the non-life insurance market and hopes to conquer 25 percent of the market in three years.
Verslo Zinios

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