Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 27.2005

Saturday, 9th of July

Second mall Akropolis will be built in Klaipeda
The new Akropolis mall in Klaipeda, which Vilniaus Akropolis, the operator of the largest Baltic shopping and entertainment complex owned by Vilniaus Prekyba, expects to complete in December, will eat up the investments of approximately LTL 200 million. The new mall will accommodate 160 stores, of which the largest will be food retailer Hyper Maxima that will cover the area of 13,600 m2 and pharmacy Eurovaistine with the area of 1,600 m2.
Klaipeda Akropolis mall, the construction of which was launched in June, is expected to attract some 8 million buyers each year. The number of visitors to Vilnius Akropolis stands at some 11 million per year.
The trade and entertainment complex in Klaipeda will also accommodate an ice arena with the area of 1,400 m2, a cinema complex, the bowling centre, which will be the largest in the Baltics, and a playground.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuania attracted more FDI than Latvia and Finland
Lithuania had a larger flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) in 2004, compared with Latvia and Finland; however, the flow of FDIs to Lithuania was lower than it was in Estonia and other new member states of the EU, shows a report of the European statistics office Eurostat.
It indicates that Lithuania last year attracted EUR 700 million worth of foreign direct investments. The central bank of the country, though, calculates that FDIs in this period amounted to EUR 623 million. The flow of FDIs to Latvia, like to Finland, made up EUR 600 million in 2004. Similarly to the Czech Republic, the Lithuanian government allocated EUR 100 million for FDIs in the period concerned.
Respublika

Exports and imports
Lithuanian exports surged by 27.1 percent to LTL 11.99 billion in the first five months of 2005 from a year earlier figure, while imports rose by 18.4 percent to LTL 15.677 billion, the Statistics Department has reported. The foreign trade deficit narrowed by 3 percent year-on-year to LTL 3.687 billion, the department reported citing the non-final data based on customs declarations and Intrastat reports.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Friday, 8th of July

Brewers rush forward
Top Lithuanian breweries posted domestic beer sales of 122.41 million litres for the first six months of 2005, a rise of 4.6 percent from the year-earlier figure. Svyturys-Utenos Alus sold 57.6 million litres of beer during the six-month period, a rise of 2.7 percent from the same period a year ago, and held 47.05 percent of domestic beer market. Sales by Kalnapilis-Tauras Group slipped by 1.02 percent, year-on-year, to 28.13 million litres, to put the company in control of 22.98 percent of the market. Ragutis raised sales by 8 percent, to 13.17 million litres and held 10.76 percent of the market.
Lithuanian beer exports totalled 6.91 million litres in the first six months of 2005, a surge of 38.2 percent from the year-earlier figure of 5 million litres. In June alone, beer exports soared by 44.6 percent, year-on-year, to reach 2.4 million litres. Exports by Svyturys-Utenos Alus declined by 22.5 percent, year-on-year, to 3.21 million litres in the January-to-June period, although the company remained No 1 in terms of beer exports.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Ekranas is against dumping
Ekranas, one of Europe's leading colour picture tube (CPT) producers with a one-fourth market share, lodged an application to the European Commission (EC) requesting the initiation of anti-dumping measures against CPT producers from India and South Korea in late June. The company charges the producers from above countries with unfair competition on the European 14'' CPT market. Ekranas' lawyers are currently putting finishing touches to a new claim against seven Asian countries, the CPT producers of which are charged with unfair competition on the European markets for 14'', 15'', 20'', 21'', 25'', 28'' and 29'' colour picture tubes.
The second claim should be lodged in late July. Ekranas has secured the backing of Czech CPT producer Tesla Ecimex for these initiatives.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Alstom invests into Kaunas power plant
Swedish energy concern Alstom Power Sweden is taking up the LTL 125 million worth project on the upgrade of Kaunas Hydro Power Plant (HPP) built more than 40 years ago. Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), the state-run power utility, and Alstom Power Sweden signed a LTL 125 million worth contract agreement earlier on Thursday.
"With the upgrade of the largest national hydro power plant we will strengthen reliable and safe supply of electricity in Lithuania, boost the efficiency of the energy sector and reduce potential negative effect on the environment," Rymantas Juozaitis, Lietuvos Energija CEO, said.
Reconstruction project will run till late 2007. Financing from the EU structural funds towards the renovation and upgrade project will total LTL 30 million. The power plant, which account for some 5 percent of maximum combined capacities of Lithuania's electricity generation system, is the largest power plant to use renewable energy sources.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 7th of July

Vilkma takes advantage of circumstances
Vilkma, the biggest manufacturer of men's shirts in the Baltics, said its first-half sales revenues soared by 40.6 percent year-on-year to LTL 9.7 million. The company said it sold 490,000 top-quality shirts during the first half of this year and is well on its way to meeting its full-year sales target of almost a million shirts.
A friendly situation in the market, the good name of the company, maximum focus on the needs of customers, and investments in high quality products have led to the increase in sales, Egle Gruodiene, the head of Vilkma, has said.
Verslo Zinios

Giriu Bizonas raised the group
Vakaru Medienos Grupe (Western Timber Group, or VMG), one of Lithuania's largest wood processing and furniture groups, posted sales of LTL 128.22 million in the first half of 2005, a rise of 28.6 percent from sales of LTL 99.64 million a year earlier.
The group, which controls Klaipedos Mediena, Giriu Bizonas and Viktoras Adomaitis, CEO of VMG, said that the sales growth was largely due to the successful launch of Giriu Bizonas' new furniture plant earlier this year. The new facility now produces LTL 4 million worth of products monthly and is expected to increase that to LTL 8 million in the autumn.
Giriu Bizonas posted the strongest growth in first-half sales among the VMG-controlled producers, up 47.3 percent to LTL 38.66 million. Klaipedos Mediena, the largest of the three companies, reported sales of LTL 74.62 million, up by 21 percent, while Sakuona achieved a 27 percent growth in sales to LTL 14.94 million.
Verslo Zinios

Summer is good time for brewers
Ragutis, one of the largest breweries in Lithuania, reported that the sales of the company advanced 8.4 percent to LTL 13.2 million during the period of January-June 2005.
"We invested over LTL 20 million in new equipment. We also focused on marketing strategies and introduced two new brands of beer which became popular among beer consumers in a short time, significantly increasing the beer sales of the company," Vytautas Meistas, the head of Ragutis, said.
In June, Ragutisl sold 3.789 million litres of beer, a rise of 22 percent year-on-year when the sales came in at 3,119 million litres.
Ragutis produces cider, ready-made cocktails and over 30 brands of beer.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 5th of July

Turnover of Apranga increases
Apranga, Lithuania's largest clothing retailer, said its sales for the first half of 2005 soared by 67.7 percent year-on-year to LTL 83.924 million. The chains' sales for June reached LTL 13.233 million, surging by 89.9 percent from the same period a month ago. The group currently owns 43 stores in the three Baltic countries, of which 32 are in Lithuania and 11 in Latvia and Estonia. It has plans to open two new stores in Riga and one in Panevezys, in central Lithuania, in the near future.
The clothes retailer, which is controlled by MG Baltic, is projecting pretax earnings of LTL 11.049 million on sales of LTL 208.2 million this year. It targets a 30 percent annual growth in profits in 2006-2008.
Lietuvos Zinios

Novaturas boosts it sales
Novaturas, the biggest tour operator in the Baltics, said its first-half sales in Lithuania more than doubled to reach LTL 51 million, up from LTL 24 million in the same period a year ago. The company sold 34,000 travel packages during the six months of 2005, up from 18,000 a year earlier. The company says that the resorts of Antalya, in Turkey, are the most popular among tourists this year. Other popular destinations include Tunis, Greece, Croatia and Crete, as well as Bulgarian resorts.
Lietuvos Zinios

Fuel prices surge to new record highs
Fuel prices at gas stations of LUKoil and Statoil, the operators of two largest Lithuania's gas station chains, have surged to new record highs on Monday. Retail prices of 95 gasoline, the most popular grade in Lithuania, rose by 2 cents per litre, to reach LTL 2.96-2.97 per litre at the filling stations of LUKoil in Vilnius. Prices of diesel fuel edged up by 2 cents as well, to reach LTL 2.93-2.94 per litre. Meanwhile, the prices of 95 gasoline and diesel fuel at Statoil stations rose by LTL 3 and LTL 2.97 per litre, respectively. Wholesale prices of diesel fuel marketed by Mazeikiu Nafta, the sole Baltic oil refining and transportation complex, remained unchanged at LTL 2.61 per litre, however. Mazeikiu Nafta has not yet published its wholesale prices for Tuesday.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 4th of July

Bennet Distributors sold shares of Sema
Bennet Distributors, the leading Lithuania's spirits importer, has sold 50.1 percent in Sema, the Panevezys-based alcohol producer, to an unnamed company. The name of the new investor, which is reportedly not involved in distillery business, will be revealed once the finance market regulators are notified about the transaction. Hermis Capital, which controls 30.76 percent in Sema, has confirmed that it had not acquired any shares in Panevezys-based distillery from Bennet Distributors. Bennet Distributors defended the sale of Sema's stake as a well-grounded business solution.
"At the time we acquired the company we intended to launch the manufacturing of spirits. However, in the wake of amendments to legislation, we were forced to change our business plans on a number of occasions," Jaunius Ziogas, Bennet Distributors CEO, said.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Results confirm crisis in market
Struck by downturn on European and global markets, Vilniaus Vingis, Lithuania's deflection yoke producer, posted sales of LTL 47.2 million for the first six months of 2005, a plunge of 32.2 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 69.6 million.
The company is projecting an even more significant decline in sales for the third quarter as the producer will limit the use of capacities to approximately one-third in July and may maintain the same regime in August. Taken aback by the downturn on European and global markets, Vilniaus Vingis reported losses of LTL 280,500 for the first quarter of 2005.
Verslo Zinios

CBA Aibe shows that uniting is profitable
CBA Aibe, the retail group comprised of Lithuania's CBA Aibe and Latvia's Aibe, posted sales of LTL 322.1 million in the first five months of 2005, a rise of 10.9 percent from sales a year earlier. The Lithuanian retail chain recorded a 4.6 percent growth in sales to LTL 208.1 million while sales at the Latvian chain rose by 24.6 percent to LVL 22.8 million.
"Sales of our own-branded products, which are only available at CBA Aibe stores, almost trebled this year, which shows a considerable increase in customer loyalty to our chain," Ingrida Zostautaite, director of Aibes Mazmena, the company that coordinates CBA Aibe's operations, said.
CBA Aibe's sales in Lithuania grew by 11.6 percent to LTL 492 million in 2004. The group's total sales in the two countries reached LTL 777 million last year, rising by 27.2 percent from sales of LTL 611 million in 2003.
Verslo Zinios

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