Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 41st 2004

Saturday, 8th of October

VP Market turnover rose by 17 percent
Lithuania's VP Market, the largest retail chain in the Baltics, reported sales of LTL 3.043 billion for the first nine months of 2004, a rise of 17 percent from the year earlier figure of LTL 2.601 billion. Sales were driven by successful expansion in all three Baltic countries, said Ignas Staskevicius, VP Market chairman for the Baltic countries.
In Estonia, the chain had already opened seven outlets of its T-Market discount chain, he added. The chain would pursue the opening of another six outlets in Estonia by year-end. The chain of stores under control of VP Market in Estonia should expand to 40 outlets in a year and a half. VP Market would strive to penetrate into the top three of major Estonia's retailers in 2005, Staskevicius said.
VP Market currently runs a chain of 277 stores in the three Baltic countries, of which 187 are in Lithuania, 83 in Latvia and seven in Estonia.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Unexpected rise of prices in September
Consumer prices in Lithuania edged up by 0.6 percent in September, compared with August, although analysts predicted zero increase, the country's Statistics Department has reported on Friday. In the past twelve months, the consumer price index (CPI) in the country gained 3.2 percent.
After the expiry of summer discount campaigns, the prices of fixed-line and mobile communications rose by 2.4 percent. The prices of transport goods and services increased by 0.9 percent on the back of 11.2 percent surge in prices of liquid gas and a 2.2 percent increase in prices of diesel fuel. The prices of passenger vehicles grew by 1.3 percent, while the tariffs of commuter railway transport soared by 16 percent over the month.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Profit of Vilniaus Bankas
Vilniaus Bankas, the largest Lithuania's commercial bank owned by Swedish SEB group, reported unaudited net earnings of LTL 97.7 million for the first nine months of 2004, a rise of 14.5 percent from the year-earlier figure.
For this year, the bank sees its net earnings going down to LTL 110.4 million on the back of payments of profit tax imposed on the bank from 2004. Detailed results of the bank will be announced on October 20.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 8th of October

The highest evaluation of Svyturys Ekstra in Stockholm
Svyturio Ekstra, which is brewed by Svyturio-Utenos Alus, the leading beer maker in Lithuania, won a gold medal during a contest at a beer festival in Stockholm. This is the third international award for the beer.
Rolandas Virsilas, the company's CEO, said the gold medal in Sweden confirmed once again that Lithuanians may be proud of having a chance to drink one of the best beers in the world.
Svyturio Ekstra competed in the lager category, which includes brands of light beer with an alcohol content of up to 5.9 percent. The silver medal in the group went to Miller Genuine Draft by SABMiller, the world's third largest beer concern, and the bronze medal was handed to DAB Original, which is made by Dortmunder Actien Brauerei from Germany.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Sales of Dvarcioniu Keramika down
Dvarcioniu Keramika, the leading manufacturer of ceramic tiles in the Baltics, has reported sales of LTL 33.4 million for the first nine months of 2004, down by 7.4 percent year-on-year. The company claims that the re-orientation of exports markets to potentially more profitable foreign markets predetermined the results. The Vilnius-based company said that its domestic sales for the nine-month period rose by 22.5 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 18.9 million.
Its total sales for September went up by 23.5 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 2.3 million.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Even Russian experts recognized Lithuanian vodka
Stumbras, Lithuania's leading producer of strong alcohol drinks, won a prestigious award in Moscow. “Original Lithuanian Gold Vodka" received gold medal at the contest The Product of the Year 2004 held during the international fair World Food Moscow 2004. The jury chose the Lithuanian distillery's product "for crystal purity".
"We have won over Russia, which is a cradle of vodka," Audrius Ceslovas, CEO of Stumbras, said.
The Lithuanian producer had strong rivals – Kristal from Moscow and the 1st Plant of Vodka and Liquor from the Ukraine. The winner was chosen by a very experienced jury made of the experts of the Central Testing Commission of the Russia's Agriculture Ministry.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Thursday, 7th of October

Growth of Eurovaistines
Eurovaistines, Lithuania's biggest chain of pharmacies operated by Eurofarmacijos Vaistines, posted sales of LTL 211.47 million in Lithuania for the January-to-September period, a rise of 2.2 times from the sales of LTL 96.63 million reported for the respective period a year ago.
The chain's Latvian sales amounted to LTL 22.2 million in the nine-month period, rising by 2.5 times from the year-earlier figure.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Brewers grew because of exports
Lithuanian beer exports reached 7.69 million litters in the first nine months of 2004, rising by 1.9 times from the year earlier figure.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus exported 5.53 million litters of beer during the nine months of this year. Kalnapilis-Tauras Group ranked the second with 1.23 million litters in exports in the same period.
Exports of Svyturys-Utenos Alus rose 3.4 times in the period of January-to September 2004 year-on-year, while exports of Kalnapilis-Tauras Group declined 14 percent this year.
Siauliai-based Gubernija has exported 0.91 million litres, a decline of 8.1 percent since the nine months of 2003.
Verslo Zinios

TV producer boosts sales by 57.3 percent
Lithuania's TV set producer Siauliu Tauro Televizoriai posted sales of LTL 226.072 million for the first nine months of 2004, a surge of 57.3 percent from sales of LTL 143.725 million in the same period a year ago. The company exports almost all of its products abroad and only 2-3 percent of the output is sold in the domestic market.
The TV set manufacturer expects to double its turnover to LTL 420 million and earn net profit of LTL 10 million for the full year.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 6th of October

Growth of Lithuanian beer market
Lithuania's beer market grew by 4.25 percent to 195.79 million litters in the first nine months of 2004, compared with the same period last year, according to data released by the Lithuanian Brewers' Association.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus raised nine-month sales by 1.11 percent, to 92.59 million litters, from 91.57 million litters a year ago. Kalnapilis-Tauras Group ranked second with nine-month beer sales of 47.59 million litters, up by 9.3 percent year-on-year. Ragutis raised its sales by 13.41 percent, to 19.79 million litters.
Lietuvos Rytas

Used cars will be recycled in Lithuania
Kuusakoski, Klaipeda-based metal scrap recycling operator, is the first in Lithuania to launch the recycling of used cars under the EU requirements. The company, which had already invested about LTL 50 million into a modern waste collection and recycling system, was the first Lithuania's company able to offer environment-friendly disposal for used cars in line with stringent EU requirements, said Robertas Butkus, Kuusakoski CEO.
"In future Kuusakoski intends to operate similar centres in other major Lithuania's cities as well," Butkus added.
Kuusakoski operates 23 metal scrap and waste yards all over Lithuania and a scrap metal shredder in Klaipeda.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

IKI to enter Latvia
IKI, one of Lithuania's biggest grocery chains, expects to open its first stores in Latvia in the first half of 2005. IKI will be the third Lithuanian grocery chain to establish a presence in the neighbouring market after VP Market and RIMI. Palink, the operator of the IKI chain, said that it was setting up a subsidiary company for the expansion into Latvia and coordination of the chain's operations in the neighbouring market.
Palink's Latvian subsidiary will be headed by Knut Kvisvik, formerly head of RIMI Latvia.
IKI currently runs a chain of 126 stores across Lithuania, including 61 IKI supermarkets, 14 Ikiukas convenience stores and 51 Pigiau Grybo discount stores. The chain employs about 5,000 people. Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 5th of September

Rural tourism is a service of future
Lithuania's rural tourism farmsteads attracted a total of 152,000 visitors during the first nine months of this year, a rise of 20.9 percent from 125.700 visitors in the same period a year ago, the Lithuanian Rural Tourism Association has reported.
In August alone, the number of holidaymakers increased 9.9 percent from 16,200 to 17,800 vacationers compared to August 2003.
The Aukstaitija region, in central and eastern Lithuania, attracted the largest number of holidaymakers, at 7,200, followed by the Zemaitija region, in the western part of the country, with 6,300 visitors, and Dzukija, in the southeastern part, with 4,300.
Visitors’ figures grew this year due to the increasing number of foreigners visiting rural tourism farmsteads. Foreigners comprised about one-tenth of the total number of holidaymakers in farmsteads this year versus only 2 to 3 percent in 2003.
The total number of visitors is forecast to reach about 200,000 in the full year 2004, arise of 22 percent since 2003. In 2003, 164,100 tourists visited the country’s farmsteads.
At present, about 1,000 farmsteads belong to the Rural Tourism Association of Lithuania. There are about registered 400 to 500 rural tourism farmsteads in the country.
Lietuvos Rytas

Vilniuas Bankas enters Unkraine
Vilniaus Bankas has acquired 90 percent in the Ukraine's Bank Agio. Total investment by Vilniaus Bankas in this project would reach LTL 80 million, with the major part of amount to be channelled for the purchase of shares. Share purchase contracts, which were signed in September, will come into effect after the approval of transaction by relevant regulatory authorities in Lithuania and the Ukraine. Last Friday, Vilniaus Bankas applied to the Bank of Lithuania for the permission of transaction. The deal was expected to be completed within 3-4 months.
The purchase of the Ukrainian bank was a part of SEB plans to strengthen the positions of the group eager to offer adequate services to its customers active on Eastern European market, Raimondas Kvedaras, Vilniaus Bankas deputy chairman, said.
Over 6,000 corporate customers of SEB group are engaged in business activities in the Ukraine. Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Snaige’s turnover slumped
Snaige, producer of household refrigerators, reported a year-on-year 10.5 percent increase of its sales to LTL 236.67 million in the first nine months of 2004. On September, the sales of the company though came in at LTL 24.8 million, lower by 6.8 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2003.
"The turnover has gone down mainly because of the situation in the Western countries, where we cannot see any growth in the sales of our refrigerators recently and where Chinese and Turkish manufacturers have been steadily reducing prices for their production," Giedrius Barysas, CEO of Snaige, said.
According to the company's adjusted forecast, Snaige expects its sales to reach LTL 300 million by the end of 2004.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Monday, 4th of October

Klaipedos Baldai rejoices at September
Klaipedos Baldai, one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, posted preliminary sales of LTL 85.881 million for the first nine months of this year, a rise of 14.3 percent from sales in the same period a year ago. Klaipedos Baldai said its sales for September soared by 46.7 percent, to LTL 12.58 million year-on-year.
"September was the most successful month for us this year so far in terms of sales," Dalius Jarmalavicius, finance and administration director at Klaipedos Baldai, said.
The furniture producer recorded a 15.4 percent year-on-year increase, to LTL 81.837 million, in exports for the nine months, but its domestic sales for this period dropped by 4.1 percent to LTL 4.04 million.
Verslo Zinios

The number of internet users increased
About 645,900 adult Lithuania's residents go online at least once per month, a rise of 26 percent from the year-earlier figure (511.4 thousand). However, compared with the spring survey results, the number of people browsing the net at least once per month declined by 10 percent (714.4 thousand).
About 24.6 percent of Lithuania's residents aged 15-74, browsed internet at least once per month, the summer survey by TNS Gallup has revealed. A year ago the rate was nearly 20 percent, in spring 2004 - 27.2 percent.
About 4798,000 of respondents, or 18.2 percent, used the net at least once per week in summer, a rise of one-fourth from the summer of 2003 when the number of internauts stood at 380,000 or 14.5 percent.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Danish to produce beer barrels in Kaunas
Micro Matic, the leading Danish-based brewing equipment manufacturer, will shift the production of beer barrel installations from Odense, Denmark, to Kaunas. The Danish company has already laid off some 120 workers at Odense plant and hired 130 staff at a newly established subsidiary in Kaunas.
"Our unit will be responsible for the assembly and delivery of draught beer barrel and other brewing installations," Arturas Pankevicius, MicroMatic administration and finance executive, said.
He refused to disclose the prospective sales figures of the unit. The Lithuanian unit of Micro Matic expects to reach full capacities in early 2005. The company would export the output to Denmark and Micro Matic customers throughout the world. Some products might be sold to Lithuania's beer makers.
Verslo Zinios

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