Observer "Lietuva"
WEEK 6th 2004

Saturday, 7th of February

Lithuania might benefit from the bird flu spread in Asia
Lithuanian businessmen are not concerned that the bird flu spread in Asia might reach Lithuanian poultry farms. In fact, they think the epidemic might be beneficial for them. The reason for such thinking is simple – Southeast Asia was one of the main exporters of poultry to the European Union and Lithuania has every right to expect to occupy that market share now.
Brazilian poultry farms have similar hopes as well. However, the European Union applies strict quotas for the export of poultry from South America and the quotas have not been increased yet.
Representatives of Lithuania’s largest poultry farms say the possibility of their birds catching the virus are merely theoretical. Modern technologies and sanitation barriers prevent such possibility.
The only barrier for the export of the Lithuanian poultry to the European Union is the fact that Lithuanian companies do not have permits for the export. However, most of them expect to receive it in the nearest future.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Cigarette prices dry the budget
According to the statistics, the cigarette trade volume reduces every year, while the number of smokers remains stable. Experts claim that consumption of legal tobacco products reduces due to increasing flows of contraband cigarettes. Due to increased contraband, the state budget does not gather cigarette excise. On the other hand, the amount of the cigarette excise also contributes to the increasing amounts of contraband.
Cigarette importers report that Lithuanians smoked over 6 billion units of legal cigarettes in 2000, while in 2003 this number declined by nearly 25 percent.
The Customs Criminal Service reports that more than 38 million units of contraband cigarettes were detained in 2003, a record amount of contraband cigarettes was detained in 2002 – 127 million.
Gintautas Dirg_la, corporate affairs executive of JT International Baltics, claims that sales of legal cigarettes reduce due to contraband products. He is most concerned about the reduced sale of average-priced tobacco products.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Senukai boosts its turnover
Senukai, Lithuania's largest retailer of building materials and household goods, has reported a 31 percent rise in sales for 2003, to LTL 678.9 million from LTL 518 million in 2002.
Arturas Rakauskas, president of Senuku Prekybos Centras, the operator of the retail chain, attributed the strong sales growth to active expansion of the company's operations.
Nearly 700 foreign and 600 local producers supply their goods to the retail chain, which has a 28 percent market share in Lithuania. Senuku Prekybos Centras is the authorized representative of almost 200 foreign companies in Lithuania and the other Baltic countries.
Senukai announced plans to expand into the Belarusian and Ukrainian markets after opening its first outlet in Latvia in August 2002, but it has not done so until now.
Rautakesko, a subsidiary of Finland's Kesko Group, purchased 50 percent plus one share in Senuku Prekybos Centras in mid-March 2003.
(Kauno Diena)

Friday, 6th of February

Uniforms for Iraqi army will be made in Lithuania
Vilnius-based company Tuma, which makes uniforms for Lithuanian troops, has won an international tender to make military uniforms for the Iraqi armed forces.
The Lithuanian company signed a contract to provide over 1,000 sets of military uniforms, the Defense Ministry said.
Tuma's deputy director Virginijus Ivlievas said that it was too early to speak about amounts of the deal as the company would first prepare examples of uniforms.
Tuma, which employs approximately 250 persons, has not announced its financial data.
After occupying Iraq, the coalition of the United States, Great Britain and other states plan to form Iraqi forces of about 40,000 troops to guard the border and perform tasks at border checkpoints. The first 700-person battalion started its service in December.
Colonel John Nye of the U.S. Special Operations Command Central is currently in Lithuania to handle the matter.
(Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios)

Lithuanian Gas earned LTL 68.4 million last year
Lithuania's natural gas distribution and transportation company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) has reported an unaudited net profit of LTL 68.4 million for 2003, up by 19.4 percent from a net profit of LTL 57.326 million for 2002.
Lietuvos Dujos achieved the growth in full-year earnings despite its poor performance in the last quarter, in which it made a loss of around LTL 0.6 million.
The natural gas utility posted a net profit of LTL 68.97 million for the first nine months of 2003, a 66.7 percent rise in year-on-year terms. Its operating profit for the nine-month period was LTL 58.7 million.
The company had a 28.2 percent market share in 2003 after boosting its full-year natural gas sales by 42.4 percent to LTL 828 million.
Russia's gas giant Gazprom and the Lithuanian State Property Fund (SPF) signed a 100-million-litas deal on the purchase and sale of a 34 percent equity stake in Lietuvos Dujos on January 23, following a year and a half of negotiations. The parties expect to finalize the transaction in March.
(Kauno Diena)

Lithuanian beer market is still in a slump
Lithuanian brewers recorded a 7 percent drop in aggregate domestic beer sales for January, to 13.72 million litres from 14.76 million litres in the same period a year ago.
The Lithuanian Brewers' Association, which unites ten local breweries, has released data showing that only two of the country's major beer producers achieved a growth in sales in the first month of the year.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus, controlled by the Nordic group Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), remained Lithuania's number one beer producer despite a 9.4 percent year-on-year drop in beer sales for January, to 6.26 million litres.
The Kalnapilis-Tauras Group, majority owned by The Danish Brewery Group, was second with beer sales of 3.22 million litres, down by 16.6 percent on the same time last year.
Gubernija, which is based in the northern Lithuanian town of Siauliai, boosted its sales by 4.3 percent, year-on-year, to 1.46 million litres.
Ragutis, which is controlled by the Finnish brewery Olvi, posted a 9.2 percent increase in sales for January, to 1.42 million litres.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus had a 45.6 percent share of the domestic beer market in January, followed by Kalnapilis-Tauras with a 23.5 percent market share, Gubernija with 10.6 percent, and Ragutis with 10.4 percent.
Lithuanian beer market shrank last year due to stiff competition from producers of strong alcohol, alcoholic cocktails and cider.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Thursday, 5th of February

Rebirth of turkey business in Marijampole
The largest turkey breeding and meat processing complex Arvi Kalakutai (Arvi Turkeys) was opened in Marijampole this week.
The complex is made from four companies – three turkey farms and one meat processing department. Marijampole’s agricultural and investment group Arvi has invested LTL 50 million into the new complex. Almost 30 percent of the required means have been received from the SAPARD program funds. The investments into the project are expected to return in seven years.
The new complex employs 200 people. Arvi Kalakutai expects to butcher more than 135,000 turkeys and reach a turnover of LTL 15 million. The company expects to occupy 70 percent of the Lithuania’s turkey meat market.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios)

Idea and flexibility turns toys into profit
Siauliai-based UAB Garbaris specializes in production of soft toys. The company uses its original ideas and flexibility to find customers.
Rimantas Basys, one of the owners of the company, says in order to compete with the unbelievably cheap Chinese or Belarusian production one must offer something very exceptional for the market. Thus, the company makes toys of the highest quality and original design. The designers of the company currently create 3-4 toy models but Basys says the assortment will have to be expanded three or even four times faster in the future. UAB Garbaris currently has 150 models in its catalogue. The company also accepts individual orders.
Owners of Garbaris say Lithuanian and foreign companies often use their toys for advertising and other campaigns. Thus, the company had a chance to work with such companies as Coca-Cola, Nematekas and others.
The company will invest LTL 0.4 million into new premises and employ 10 new employees this year. The company expects LTL 1 million profit this year.
(Verslo Zinios)

Lithuania extracts less oil
Last year, Lithuanian extracted 469,400 cubic metres of oil, which is 12 percent less than in 2002.
Oil extraction company indicators have slumped considerably because the existing oil fields are abating and new ones have not been found yet.
The Lithuanian geology service said that only one out of four oil extraction companies, Geonafta, last year retained the same output. Preliminary information shows that the company extracted 102,600 cubic metres of oil, which is barely 1 percent less than in 2002.
Minijos Nafta, Genciu Nafta and Manifoldas extracted less oil last year.
Oil extraction started decreasing in Lithuania in 2002.
(Verslo Zinios)

Wednesday, 4th of February

Ignalina nuclear power plant generated more electricity in January
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) generated 1.979 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in January 2003, a rise of 8.5 percent versus the first month of 2003 when the power plant produced 1.824 billion kWh.
In twelve months of 2003 the power plant generated 15.484 billion kWh of electricity, some 9.5 percent more compared with 2002. Sales soared by 10.5 percent, year-on-year, to 14.25 billion kWh.
This year INPP has scheduled to sell some 13 billion kWh of electricity, less than last year as the second reactor would be shut down for the upgrade for six months, starting from April.
According to preliminary data, the power plant earned pretax and net profit of LTL 15.5 million for the full year 2003.
(Verslo Zinios)

Sale season boosts results of Apranga
Apranga, Lithuania's top retail clothing chain, reported sales of LTL 10.824 million in Lithuania and neighbouring Latvia for the month of January, an increase of 37.7 percent versus January 2003 when the total sales reached LTL 7.864 million.
Andrius Jovaisa, CFO of the company, said the sales rose amid aggressive expansion in Lithuania and Latvia, an increase in purchasing power of consumers and the annual sale season that was opened up in early January.
The chain, which opened five new stores in Lithuania and another five outlets in Latvia last year, operates 28 stores.
The Vilnius-based company targets net earnings of some LTL 8.5 million for the full year 2004 with total revenues projected at LTL 135 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Fazer Gardesis aims at 12-13 percent of the market
Fazer Gardesis, one of Lithuania's leading bakery and confectionery producers, reported sales of LTL 24.4 million for the full year 2003, an increase of 24.5 percent versus the sales of LTL 19.6 million announced for 2002. The initial sales target was set at LTL 23.6 million.
The company conquered some 10 percent of Lithuania's bakery and confectionery market by sales. The company plans to launch a new bun production line later this year and raise its market share to 13 percent in 2004.
Gardesis was established in 1995 and was acquired by Finnish Fazer Bakeries in December of 2001. The Finns have already invested LTL 20 million into the company. Most of the amount went for renovation purposes and purchase of new equipment.
(Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios)

Tuesday, 3rd of February

Lithuanians enjoy gambling
Lithuania's gaming industry won a total of LTL 43.581 million from gamblers in 2003, a 3.6-fold rise from 2002, when gamblers left LTL 12 million in casinos and gaming machine halls.
According to the data of the Lithuanian State Gaming Control Commission, thirteen state-licensed gambling operators raised LTL 176.99 million in revenues in 2003, a 4.1-fold rise versus 2002, and paid out LTL 133.409 million in winnings, a 4.6-fold increase, in year-on-year terms.
Last year the panel issued 6 licenses, 28 permits for the establishment of gambling houses and halls, and 63 permits to open betting shops. Meanwhile, in 2002 the commission issued 16 licenses, 11 permits for the opening of casinos and gaming machine halls, and 3 permits for the establishment of betting shops.
Estonia's equity Olympic Casino Group Baltija retained the lead on Lithuania's gambling market in 2003 with full year revenues of LTL 20.305 million.
The Law on Gambling came into effect on Jul. 1, 2001, while the first gaming hall was opened in February 2002.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika)

Leasing companies grew in Lithuania last year
Twelve leasing and factoring companies boosted their aggregate leasing portfolio by 48 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 2.697 billion in 2003. The expansion of the leasing market was due to numerous factors, including fast improvement of general economic situation in the country, a significant rise in investments into technological equipment, transport vehicles, real estate, household and consumer goods, hardware.
VB Lizingas replaced Hanza Lizingas as the market leader with the share of 36.21 percent. Hanza Lizingas ended the year 2003 with the market share of 35.9 percent, Sampo Banko Lizingas had 5.66 percent of the market, Snoro Lizingas - 5.64 percent, and Nord/LB Lizingas - 5.15 percent.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena)

Constructus had a profitable year
One of Lithuania’s largest construction companies Constructus reported turnover of LTL 60 million and profit of LTL 3 million for last year.
Constructus was formerly known as Skansa Statyba, which was controlled by the international company Skanska. Panevezio Keliai purchased Skanska’s Lithuanian branch, after the latter had decided to withdraw from Lithuania last year. Skanska established its subsidiary in Lithuania in 1994. The turnover of the company barely climbed over LTL 30 million in 2002. Unofficial sources say the company even had a small loss in 2002.
Constructus is about to complete the construction of the new Vilnius municipality centre soon. The project is estimated at LTL 70 million. The main building of the centre will have 20 storeys and will be one of the highest buildings in the city.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Monday, 2nd of February

Naujoji Ringuva got rid of competitors
AB Naujoji Ringuva remains the only producer of hard toilet and laundry soap in the Baltic countries after its bankrupt competitors sold their equipment far from the Lithuanian market.
AB Naujoji Ringuva negotiated with the Estonian company Flora two years ago for the latter to cease production of soap and sell its equipment in the CIS countries. The similar agreement was reached with the Riga-based factory.
Vytautas Meistas, CEO of Naujoji Ringuva, says a bankrupt competitor is very dangerous because a strong strategic investor might revive such a company and pose threat for the Lithuanian soup producer.
AB Naujoji Ringuva pins its hopes on the agreement with the British company this year. Naujoji Ringuva will produce more than 200 tons of soap per year for the British company Boots Healthcare International. The order is worth LTL 1.3 million. The English company sells the production of the Lithuanian company in Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
The Panevezys-based company is already cooperating successfully with the Finnish company Henkel Norden and has already tested the US market.
(Verslo Zinios)

Profit of Lifosa declined last year
Lithuania's Lifosa, the largest phosphate fertilizer manufacturer in the Baltic countries controlled by Russia's mineral fertilizer group Eurochem, reported unaudited net earnings of LTL 11.98 million for the full year 2003, a 32.8 percent decline over the previous year.
Revenues of the company, however, rose by 12.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 432.8 million. The figure stood at LTL 383.3 million in 2002.
The company claims the profit figure was weighed down by a fast growth in prices of ammonium and the resulting increase in manufacturing costs.
(Verslo Zinios)

Baldistra reached its goals last year
UAB Baldistra, Silute-based manufacturer of children’s furniture, reached the target turnover of LTL 4.8 million over the first nine months from the establishment of the company.
Although Baldistra started production only in April of 2003, the achieved results exceeded expectations, says Egidijus Simutis, CEO of Baldistra. The company currently makes 8,000 beds and other furniture for children per month.
Simutis says the main advantage of the company is qualified workers, who are able to produce furniture of a very high quality.
The company sells 70 percent of its production for partners in Great Britain. The remaining part is exported to Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Baldistra expects to double its production volume this year up to LTL 10.5 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Saturday, 7th of February

Lithuania might benefit from the bird flu spread in Asia
Lithuanian businessmen are not concerned that the bird flu spread in Asia might reach Lithuanian poultry farms. In fact, they think the epidemic might be beneficial for them. The reason for such thinking is simple – Southeast Asia was one of the main exporters of poultry to the European Union and Lithuania has every right to expect to occupy that market share now.
Brazilian poultry farms have similar hopes as well. However, the European Union applies strict quotas for the export of poultry from South America and the quotas have not been increased yet.
Representatives of Lithuania’s largest poultry farms say the possibility of their birds catching the virus are merely theoretical. Modern technologies and sanitation barriers prevent such possibility.
The only barrier for the export of the Lithuanian poultry to the European Union is the fact that Lithuanian companies do not have permits for the export. However, most of them expect to receive it in the nearest future.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Cigarette prices dry the budget
According to the statistics, the cigarette trade volume reduces every year, while the number of smokers remains stable. Experts claim that consumption of legal tobacco products reduces due to increasing flows of contraband cigarettes. Due to increased contraband, the state budget does not gather cigarette excise. On the other hand, the amount of the cigarette excise also contributes to the increasing amounts of contraband.
Cigarette importers report that Lithuanians smoked over 6 billion units of legal cigarettes in 2000, while in 2003 this number declined by nearly 25 percent.
The Customs Criminal Service reports that more than 38 million units of contraband cigarettes were detained in 2003, a record amount of contraband cigarettes was detained in 2002 – 127 million.
Gintautas Dirg_la, corporate affairs executive of JT International Baltics, claims that sales of legal cigarettes reduce due to contraband products. He is most concerned about the reduced sale of average-priced tobacco products.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Senukai boosts its turnover
Senukai, Lithuania's largest retailer of building materials and household goods, has reported a 31 percent rise in sales for 2003, to LTL 678.9 million from LTL 518 million in 2002.
Arturas Rakauskas, president of Senuku Prekybos Centras, the operator of the retail chain, attributed the strong sales growth to active expansion of the company's operations.
Nearly 700 foreign and 600 local producers supply their goods to the retail chain, which has a 28 percent market share in Lithuania. Senuku Prekybos Centras is the authorized representative of almost 200 foreign companies in Lithuania and the other Baltic countries.
Senukai announced plans to expand into the Belarusian and Ukrainian markets after opening its first outlet in Latvia in August 2002, but it has not done so until now.
Rautakesko, a subsidiary of Finland's Kesko Group, purchased 50 percent plus one share in Senuku Prekybos Centras in mid-March 2003.
(Kauno Diena)

Friday, 6th of February

Uniforms for Iraqi army will be made in Lithuania
Vilnius-based company Tuma, which makes uniforms for Lithuanian troops, has won an international tender to make military uniforms for the Iraqi armed forces.
The Lithuanian company signed a contract to provide over 1,000 sets of military uniforms, the Defense Ministry said.
Tuma's deputy director Virginijus Ivlievas said that it was too early to speak about amounts of the deal as the company would first prepare examples of uniforms.
Tuma, which employs approximately 250 persons, has not announced its financial data.
After occupying Iraq, the coalition of the United States, Great Britain and other states plan to form Iraqi forces of about 40,000 troops to guard the border and perform tasks at border checkpoints. The first 700-person battalion started its service in December.
Colonel John Nye of the U.S. Special Operations Command Central is currently in Lithuania to handle the matter.
(Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios)

Lithuanian Gas earned LTL 68.4 million last year
Lithuania's natural gas distribution and transportation company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) has reported an unaudited net profit of LTL 68.4 million for 2003, up by 19.4 percent from a net profit of LTL 57.326 million for 2002.
Lietuvos Dujos achieved the growth in full-year earnings despite its poor performance in the last quarter, in which it made a loss of around LTL 0.6 million.
The natural gas utility posted a net profit of LTL 68.97 million for the first nine months of 2003, a 66.7 percent rise in year-on-year terms. Its operating profit for the nine-month period was LTL 58.7 million.
The company had a 28.2 percent market share in 2003 after boosting its full-year natural gas sales by 42.4 percent to LTL 828 million.
Russia's gas giant Gazprom and the Lithuanian State Property Fund (SPF) signed a 100-million-litas deal on the purchase and sale of a 34 percent equity stake in Lietuvos Dujos on January 23, following a year and a half of negotiations. The parties expect to finalize the transaction in March.
(Kauno Diena)

Lithuanian beer market is still in a slump
Lithuanian brewers recorded a 7 percent drop in aggregate domestic beer sales for January, to 13.72 million litres from 14.76 million litres in the same period a year ago.
The Lithuanian Brewers' Association, which unites ten local breweries, has released data showing that only two of the country's major beer producers achieved a growth in sales in the first month of the year.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus, controlled by the Nordic group Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), remained Lithuania's number one beer producer despite a 9.4 percent year-on-year drop in beer sales for January, to 6.26 million litres.
The Kalnapilis-Tauras Group, majority owned by The Danish Brewery Group, was second with beer sales of 3.22 million litres, down by 16.6 percent on the same time last year.
Gubernija, which is based in the northern Lithuanian town of Siauliai, boosted its sales by 4.3 percent, year-on-year, to 1.46 million litres.
Ragutis, which is controlled by the Finnish brewery Olvi, posted a 9.2 percent increase in sales for January, to 1.42 million litres.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus had a 45.6 percent share of the domestic beer market in January, followed by Kalnapilis-Tauras with a 23.5 percent market share, Gubernija with 10.6 percent, and Ragutis with 10.4 percent.
Lithuanian beer market shrank last year due to stiff competition from producers of strong alcohol, alcoholic cocktails and cider.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Thursday, 5th of February

Rebirth of turkey business in Marijampole
The largest turkey breeding and meat processing complex Arvi Kalakutai (Arvi Turkeys) was opened in Marijampole this week.
The complex is made from four companies – three turkey farms and one meat processing department. Marijampole’s agricultural and investment group Arvi has invested LTL 50 million into the new complex. Almost 30 percent of the required means have been received from the SAPARD program funds. The investments into the project are expected to return in seven years.
The new complex employs 200 people. Arvi Kalakutai expects to butcher more than 135,000 turkeys and reach a turnover of LTL 15 million. The company expects to occupy 70 percent of the Lithuania’s turkey meat market.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios)

Idea and flexibility turns toys into profit
Siauliai-based UAB Garbaris specializes in production of soft toys. The company uses its original ideas and flexibility to find customers.
Rimantas Basys, one of the owners of the company, says in order to compete with the unbelievably cheap Chinese or Belarusian production one must offer something very exceptional for the market. Thus, the company makes toys of the highest quality and original design. The designers of the company currently create 3-4 toy models but Basys says the assortment will have to be expanded three or even four times faster in the future. UAB Garbaris currently has 150 models in its catalogue. The company also accepts individual orders.
Owners of Garbaris say Lithuanian and foreign companies often use their toys for advertising and other campaigns. Thus, the company had a chance to work with such companies as Coca-Cola, Nematekas and others.
The company will invest LTL 0.4 million into new premises and employ 10 new employees this year. The company expects LTL 1 million profit this year.
(Verslo Zinios)

Lithuania extracts less oil
Last year, Lithuanian extracted 469,400 cubic metres of oil, which is 12 percent less than in 2002.
Oil extraction company indicators have slumped considerably because the existing oil fields are abating and new ones have not been found yet.
The Lithuanian geology service said that only one out of four oil extraction companies, Geonafta, last year retained the same output. Preliminary information shows that the company extracted 102,600 cubic metres of oil, which is barely 1 percent less than in 2002.
Minijos Nafta, Genciu Nafta and Manifoldas extracted less oil last year.
Oil extraction started decreasing in Lithuania in 2002.
(Verslo Zinios)

Wednesday, 4th of February

Ignalina nuclear power plant generated more electricity in January
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) generated 1.979 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in January 2003, a rise of 8.5 percent versus the first month of 2003 when the power plant produced 1.824 billion kWh.
In twelve months of 2003 the power plant generated 15.484 billion kWh of electricity, some 9.5 percent more compared with 2002. Sales soared by 10.5 percent, year-on-year, to 14.25 billion kWh.
This year INPP has scheduled to sell some 13 billion kWh of electricity, less than last year as the second reactor would be shut down for the upgrade for six months, starting from April.
According to preliminary data, the power plant earned pretax and net profit of LTL 15.5 million for the full year 2003.
(Verslo Zinios)

Sale season boosts results of Apranga
Apranga, Lithuania's top retail clothing chain, reported sales of LTL 10.824 million in Lithuania and neighbouring Latvia for the month of January, an increase of 37.7 percent versus January 2003 when the total sales reached LTL 7.864 million.
Andrius Jovaisa, CFO of the company, said the sales rose amid aggressive expansion in Lithuania and Latvia, an increase in purchasing power of consumers and the annual sale season that was opened up in early January.
The chain, which opened five new stores in Lithuania and another five outlets in Latvia last year, operates 28 stores.
The Vilnius-based company targets net earnings of some LTL 8.5 million for the full year 2004 with total revenues projected at LTL 135 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Fazer Gardesis aims at 12-13 percent of the market
Fazer Gardesis, one of Lithuania's leading bakery and confectionery producers, reported sales of LTL 24.4 million for the full year 2003, an increase of 24.5 percent versus the sales of LTL 19.6 million announced for 2002. The initial sales target was set at LTL 23.6 million.
The company conquered some 10 percent of Lithuania's bakery and confectionery market by sales. The company plans to launch a new bun production line later this year and raise its market share to 13 percent in 2004.
Gardesis was established in 1995 and was acquired by Finnish Fazer Bakeries in December of 2001. The Finns have already invested LTL 20 million into the company. Most of the amount went for renovation purposes and purchase of new equipment.
(Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios)

Tuesday, 3rd of February

Lithuanians enjoy gambling
Lithuania's gaming industry won a total of LTL 43.581 million from gamblers in 2003, a 3.6-fold rise from 2002, when gamblers left LTL 12 million in casinos and gaming machine halls.
According to the data of the Lithuanian State Gaming Control Commission, thirteen state-licensed gambling operators raised LTL 176.99 million in revenues in 2003, a 4.1-fold rise versus 2002, and paid out LTL 133.409 million in winnings, a 4.6-fold increase, in year-on-year terms.
Last year the panel issued 6 licenses, 28 permits for the establishment of gambling houses and halls, and 63 permits to open betting shops. Meanwhile, in 2002 the commission issued 16 licenses, 11 permits for the opening of casinos and gaming machine halls, and 3 permits for the establishment of betting shops.
Estonia's equity Olympic Casino Group Baltija retained the lead on Lithuania's gambling market in 2003 with full year revenues of LTL 20.305 million.
The Law on Gambling came into effect on Jul. 1, 2001, while the first gaming hall was opened in February 2002.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika)

Leasing companies grew in Lithuania last year
Twelve leasing and factoring companies boosted their aggregate leasing portfolio by 48 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 2.697 billion in 2003. The expansion of the leasing market was due to numerous factors, including fast improvement of general economic situation in the country, a significant rise in investments into technological equipment, transport vehicles, real estate, household and consumer goods, hardware.
VB Lizingas replaced Hanza Lizingas as the market leader with the share of 36.21 percent. Hanza Lizingas ended the year 2003 with the market share of 35.9 percent, Sampo Banko Lizingas had 5.66 percent of the market, Snoro Lizingas - 5.64 percent, and Nord/LB Lizingas - 5.15 percent.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena)

Constructus had a profitable year
One of Lithuania’s largest construction companies Constructus reported turnover of LTL 60 million and profit of LTL 3 million for last year.
Constructus was formerly known as Skansa Statyba, which was controlled by the international company Skanska. Panevezio Keliai purchased Skanska’s Lithuanian branch, after the latter had decided to withdraw from Lithuania last year. Skanska established its subsidiary in Lithuania in 1994. The turnover of the company barely climbed over LTL 30 million in 2002. Unofficial sources say the company even had a small loss in 2002.
Constructus is about to complete the construction of the new Vilnius municipality centre soon. The project is estimated at LTL 70 million. The main building of the centre will have 20 storeys and will be one of the highest buildings in the city.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Monday, 2nd of February

Naujoji Ringuva got rid of competitors
AB Naujoji Ringuva remains the only producer of hard toilet and laundry soap in the Baltic countries after its bankrupt competitors sold their equipment far from the Lithuanian market.
AB Naujoji Ringuva negotiated with the Estonian company Flora two years ago for the latter to cease production of soap and sell its equipment in the CIS countries. The similar agreement was reached with the Riga-based factory.
Vytautas Meistas, CEO of Naujoji Ringuva, says a bankrupt competitor is very dangerous because a strong strategic investor might revive such a company and pose threat for the Lithuanian soup producer.
AB Naujoji Ringuva pins its hopes on the agreement with the British company this year. Naujoji Ringuva will produce more than 200 tons of soap per year for the British company Boots Healthcare International. The order is worth LTL 1.3 million. The English company sells the production of the Lithuanian company in Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
The Panevezys-based company is already cooperating successfully with the Finnish company Henkel Norden and has already tested the US market.
(Verslo Zinios)

Profit of Lifosa declined last year
Lithuania's Lifosa, the largest phosphate fertilizer manufacturer in the Baltic countries controlled by Russia's mineral fertilizer group Eurochem, reported unaudited net earnings of LTL 11.98 million for the full year 2003, a 32.8 percent decline over the previous year.
Revenues of the company, however, rose by 12.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 432.8 million. The figure stood at LTL 383.3 million in 2002.
The company claims the profit figure was weighed down by a fast growth in prices of ammonium and the resulting increase in manufacturing costs.
(Verslo Zinios)

Baldistra reached its goals last year
UAB Baldistra, Silute-based manu Color facturer of children’s furniture, reached the target turnover of LTL 4.8 million over the first nine months from the establishment of the company.
Although Baldistra started production only in April of 2003, the achieved results exceeded expectations, says Egidijus Simutis, CEO of Baldistra. The company currently makes 8,000 beds and other furniture for children per month.
Simutis says the main advantage of the company is qualified workers, who are able to produce furniture of a very high quality.
The company sells 70 percent of its production for partners in Great Britain. The remaining part is exported to Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Baldistra expects to double its production volume this year up to LTL 10.5 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

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