Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 39th

Saturday, 25th of September

Lithuanian will have enough of codes for some time
Lithuania is facing the prospect of losing the right to fish cod in the Baltic Sea. The International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission is considering the recommendations of scientists to ban cod fishing in the eastern area of the sea. The European Union's fishery department is scheduled to deal with the issue at the beginning of next month.
Experts argue that fishermen catch young cod in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, therefore decreasing the catch of cod in the western area of the sea. If the ban is put into place, Lithuanian fishermen will live through hard times. The state official pledged to fight for the nation's interests during a meeting of the EU department.
At this time, there are more than 60 Lithuanian boats engaged in fishing in the Baltic Sea. Their annual catch amounts to 10,000-15,000 tons.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Stumbras raises its authorised capital
Stumbras, one of the major alcohol producers in Lithuania, will extend its authorised capital by LTL 28.14 million through stockholder contributions. The capital boost comes as part of the obligations that the new owner of the distillery assumed under its privatisation agreement with the government. Stumbras currently has authorised capital of LTL 131 million. The new issue has to be placed in six months.
Stumbras suffered a loss of LTL 0.32 million in the first half of this year. The company’s income during this time amounted to LTL 39.29 million.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Lithuanian transport, communication, and service companies this year experienced an 11.7 percent surge in second quarter income, which reached LTL 4.37 billion at current prices, Statistics Lithuania reported.

Friday, 24th of September

MAZ will be produced inVilnius
MAZ Baltija opened the first in the European Union center for the assembly of Belarusian MAZ trucks in Vilnius on Thursday. The new facility will assemble Euro-3 compliant MAZ trucks for sale not only in the Baltic countries, but in Western Europe as well, using parts manufactured mostly in EU countries.
MAZ Baltija has been founded by the Lithuanian-owned company Ziemgalos Automobiliai, which is the Belarusian producer's authorized representative in this country.
"Now that the Lithuanians have opened the MAZ vehicle assembly center, we expect to avoid paying the 22 percent customs duty that applies to exports to the EU from countries outside the EU," Valentin Gurinovich, CEO of the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), said.
MAZ vehicles assembled in Lithuania will have the German-made Deutz engines and ZF gearboxes. The average price of a vehicle assembled by MAZ Baltija will be around LTL 80,000. The company expects to assemble up to 500 vehicles per year at the new facility, which has an annual production capacity of 750 units.
MAZ Baltija has signed vehicle export contracts with two Estonian companies and is finalizing the details of contracts with Latvian and Polish companies.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

PET plant in Klaipeda
Orion Global PET, the Lithuanian subsidiary of the Thai company Indorama, is set to borrow EUR 52.2 million for the construction of a green field PET resin plant in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. Nordea, the largest financial group in the Nordic and Baltic region, the German financial group KfW and its subsidiary, DEG, have agreed to provide a syndicated loan to Orion Global PET. The total value of the PET project in the Klaipeda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) is estimated to be EUR 86 million euros.
The new PET plant with an annual capacity of about 180,000 tons is to launch production in the first quarter of 2006 and create 120 new jobs. Some 80 percent of its products will be exported. Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Lietuvos Telekomas the sole owner of Voicecom
The Competition Council gave green light yesterday to Lietuvos Telekomas (LT) over purchasing the remaining 40 percent of shares in internet telephony service provider Voicecom and becoming the sole owner of the company. LT has signed a procurement-selling agreement with the US company Nexcom Telecommunications. The authorized capital of Voicecom amounts to LTL 10,000; it employs 9 people.
Scandinavian TeliaSonera, controlling LT, has repeatedly declared its strategic plans to strengthen its positions in Nordic and Baltic region. Last year, the company purchased 35 percent of shares in Omnitel, which have been previously owned by Motorola, and increased its block of shares up to 90 percent. In August 2004, TeliaSonera became the sole owner of Omnitel.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Thursday, 23rd of September

Tele2 appealed against Lietuvos Telekomas
Tele2 and its subsidiary company Tele2 Fiksuotas Rysys (Tele2 Fixed Connection) appealed to the Competition Council yesterday against misleading advertisement of Lietuvos Telekomas (LT). Pranas Kuisys, director for commerce in Tele2, said that that Tele2 and its trade partners are called “swindlers” and “cheats” in the advertisements of telecom. Moreover, the ad says that Tele2’s tariffs are not lower than those of LT.
According to Kuisys, such ad of LT has been distributed to the users of e-mail Takas two weeks ago; meanwhile the telecom’s subscribers received such information together with bills for the LT services last week.
“We have information that people introducing themselves as Tele2 sales agents spread ungrounded information about Lietuvos Telekomas and offer their services,” Rosvaldas Gorbaciovas, spokesman of LT, said.
Thus it was decided to deliver a warning advertisement to the clients of LT, said Gorbaciovas. Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Audejas increases its profit
The biggest Lithuanian furniture fabric producer Audejas projects LTL 2 million net profit for the full 2004 and to increase turnover by 20-30 percent than last year. In 2003, Audejas’ net profit amounted to LTL 1.2 million, while the sales stood at LTL 45.9 million. In the first six months of this year, the company recorded LTL 1.4 million pre-tax profit, a rise of 25 percent since the same period a year ago. The aggregate turnover of Audejas came in at LTL 20.7 million in the first half of this year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian insurance market grew by 14.3 percent
Lithuania's insurance market grew by 14.3 percent in the first eight months of 2004, year-on-year. The share of life insurance premiums decreased by 1.5 percentage points in the January-to-August period of 2004. The market share of life insurance constituted 22.1 percent, while non-life insurance market share – 77.9 percent in the eight months of this year.
ERGO Lietuva held 13.9 percent of non-life insurance market, Lietuvos Draudimas had 11.8 percent, Balticums Draudimas – 8.2 percent. Lietuvos Draudimas controlled 24 percent of mandatory third party liability insurance market, Baltikums Draudimas – 17 percent, and ERGO Lietuva – 13 percent.
Bonum Publicum was the most aggressive to increase its market share by 74 percent in the respective period.
In the life insurance market, Hansa Gyvybes Draudimas controlled 41 percent of the market, VB Gyvybes Draudimas – 17 percent, and ERGO Gyvybes Draudimas – 15 percent.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 22nd of September 2004

Ekranas increases volumes
Lithuania's colour picture tube manufacturers Ekranas has launched its fourth TV tube assembly line with a view to further increasing its market share in Europe. The company said in a statement that the new 80-million-litas line was installed within a record period of five months.
The new line has the capacity to produce 1.6 million small and medium-sized TV tubes per year, which will raise Ekranas' total annual production capacity to 7 million units.
With the new line in operation, the company expects to increase its annual sales to 5 million vacuum tubes.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Beer trade with Latvians
Vilniaus Alus, a Lithuanian brewery, intends to start exchanging products with its only export partner in Latvia, Alus Tirceniciba Grupa, shortly. Vimantas Laurinavicius, a co-owner of Vilniaus Alus, said that the Vilnius brewery would supply draught beer to Alus Tirceniciba Grupa to help it cope with demand from local bars. The Latvian brewery, in its turn, will supply Inguers beer in bottles to Lithuania. Vilniaus Alus expects to raise its beer exports to Latvia to 15 percent of total production in October, from the current 10 percent. The company exports its Backoriu beer to the neighbouring country, where it is sold under the brand name of Inguers. The Vilnius brewery produced almost 1.00 million litres of beer in 2003.
Verslo Zinios

Elsis sold Navision
Elsis Verslo Sprendimai (Elsis Business Solutions), a provider of IT business solutions, has sold Navision installation business to Columbus IT Partner. Elsis will invest the money for Navision business into the training of specialists, while the new purchase will help Columbus entering a segment of small companies. Elsis claims it decided to focus on the core activity: automation of external processes with the help of Siebel Systems, customer relationship management system GoldMine and telecommunication centres Alcatel. Elsis revenues from Navision system installations amounted to LTL 1.2 million in 2003 and LTL 0.5 million in the first half of this year. Columbus in its turn forecasts that the purchase of Navision business will change steady situation in the middle-sized business management system market and will trigger fiercer competition among Alna, Sonex Holding, Blue Bridge, and Sintagma Sistemos. However, Sonex Holding does not think that the several sold specialists and contracts will increase the competition chances of Columbus. Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 21st of September

Mazeikiu Nafta prepares for modernisation
At the beginning of next month, the board of the oil concern Mazeikiu Nafta is scheduled to approve a revised management plan for the company. The plan also features modernisation projects financed by private and borrowed funds.
In the previous autumn, the officials of the Lithuanian oil concern stated that projects implemented during phase two and three of the upgrading program would cost USD 400 to USD 600 million. After these two phases, the company should bring all its fuel products into line with EU standards by 2009.
In September 2003, Mazeikiu Nafta announced that it had completed phase one of an extensive modernisation program. Officials of the company said that the improvements provide the opportunity to better the quality of products in line with EU standards that become effective in 2005.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Lithuania to receive LTL 2 billion from tourism
Lithuania expects to receive nearly LTL 2 billion from the inbound tourism this year, State Tourism Department (STD) announced. In 2003, revenues from the inbound tourism amounted to LTL 1.7 billion, data of the Bank of Lithuania showed. Juozas Raguckas, vice director of STD, said that the number of tourists visiting Lithuania should increase by 30 percent this year. He claims that the number of tourists from EU has been steadily growing as of May 1.
Relying on the data provided by Statistics Department, hotels, guesthouses, motels, and sanatoriums accommodated 30.3 percent more foreign tourists in the first six months of 2004 compared to the same period last year. The number of guests amounted to 488,000, 52 percent of them were foreigners.
Hotel and guesthouses of Vilnius have accommodated 155.6 thousand people this year, a rise of 37 percent and a rise of 39 percent of foreigners.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Investments of insurance companies grew
The aggregate investment portfolio of Lithuanian insurance companies stood at LTL 1.215 billion by the end of June, a rise of 9.4 percent since the end of 2003 (LTL 1.111 billion) and an increase of 22.7 percent since the end of June in 2003 (LTL 990.682 million).
The aggregate investment portfolio of Lithuanian non-life insurance companies soared by 1.2 percent to LTL 773.592 million in the first half of this year, while investment portfolio of life insurance companies surged by 27.5 percent to LTL 441.599 million in the respective period. Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Monday, 20th of September

VP Market targets at leaders in Estonia
Lithuania's VP Market, the largest retail chain in the Baltics, aims to gain a place among the three top retailers in Estonia next year.
VP Market has opened five new stores in Estonia this year, expanding its chain in that country to six, and intends to open another six or seven stores by the end of the year.
VP Market's sales in Estonia have soared more than 10 times this year and are expected to continue growing at a fast rate next year.
"In Estonia, we currently have T-Market stores, but we are planning to open Maxima shopping centres there next year. It will improve our competitive edge in the market," Ignas Staskevicius, chairman of VP Market's management board, said.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Snaige recorded profit of LTL 26.34 million
Snaige, the only refrigerator manufacturer in the Baltics, posted pre tax earnings of LTL 26.34 million for the first eight months of 2004, a growth of 22.1 percent year-on-year.
Snaige said its revenues for the eight-month period rose by 13.1 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 211.960 million, as refrigerator sales increased by 4.5 percent to 304,000 units.
In August, Snaige's pre tax earnings slumped by 33.5 percent, year-on-year, to about LTL 2.423 million.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Vilniaus Degtine, one of Lithuania's leading alcoholic beverage producers, has reported revenues of LTL 17.44 million for the first eight months of this year, an increase of 14.8 percent year-on-year. Respublika

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