Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 42.2005

Saturday, 22nd of October

Growing cargo volume increased profits
Klasco, the largest stevedoring company in the Port of Klaipeda, earned net profits of LTL 3 million in January-September 2005. The company suffered losses of LTL 9.4 million in the same period of 2004. The income of the company grew 44.8 percent year-on-year to LTL 104.4 million, Linas Liekis, the CFO of Klasco, said.
"The nine-month cargo volume of Klasco grew 1.6 million tons - from 5.26 million tons last year to 6.86 million tons this year. For that reason, it is quite likely that cargo volume will exceed 9 million tons this year," Valentinas Greiciunas, the head of Klasco, reported. At the end of the third quarter, Klasco occupied 43 percent of the market at the Port of Klaipeda, 10 percent more than it occupied 12 months earlier.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Alita posted LTL 9.2 million profit
Alita, one of the leading Lithuanian producers of alcohol, earned net profits of LTL 9.2 million in the first nine months of 2005, 5.4 percent more than it earned in the same period of 2004. The sales of the company however dropped 6.8 percent to LTL 62.3 million. The exports of Alita, which sells products in Great Britain, Ireland, Finland, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia , Latvia, Germany, and Poland, grew 4.6 times to LTL 2.1 million. This year Alita expects net profits to advance 9.1 percent to LTL 12 million and turnover to increase 8.8 percent to LTL 109 million.

In September inflation exceeded Maastricht criterion
Lithuania exceeded the expected Maastricht inflation limit, one the key criteria it will have to meet to join the eurozone, in September, the Finance Ministry said. It warned that any further rise in prices could make it harder for Lithuania to comply with the Maastricht inflation criterion in mid-2006, when the EU Council will decide if to allow the country to introduce the euro in early 2007. The annual inflation rate in September stood at 2.6 percent, 0.1 percentage points above the expected limit. Lithuania's readiness to join the euro and its compliance with the Maastricht convergence criteria will be assessed in mid-2006 on the basis of its performance in 2005 and in the first half of 2006.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Friday, 21st of October

Banks posted profits
All commercial banks and foreign bank branches operating in Lithuania ended the first nine months of this year in the black, recording a 26.8 percent rise in aggregate profits to LTL 275.5 million, up from LTL 217.3 million a year earlier. Domestic commercial banks posted combined profits of LTL 270.2 million, up from LTL 213.3 million in the same period a year ago. Total profits of two foreign bank branches increased to LTL 5.3 million from LTL 4 million. The commercial banks' assets totalled LTL 36.951 billion at the end of September, rising by 26.8 percent from the start of the year. The total loan portfolio grew by 32.8 percent to LTL 22.435 billion, as loans to private individuals soared by 63.3 percent to LTL 7.266 billion. Deposits and letters of credit increased by 22.5 percent to LTL 21.882 billion, of which private customers' deposits were up 20.6 percent to LTL 11.834 billion.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Net profits of Stumbras advanced 5 times
Stumbras, the leading producer of alcohol in Lithuania, earned net profits of LTL 12.3 million in January-September 2005, five times more than it earned in the same period of 2004. The sales of the company grew 17 percent to LTL 70.4 million in the first three quarters of the year.
"Our goal is to earn net profits of about LTL 18 million this year. Sales should reach about LTL 100 million," Voldemaras Kallo, the CFO of Stumbras, said.
Last year's reorganization helped the company reduce expenses and increase profitability. The company earned profits mainly from its main operations. The growth in turnover resulted from discounts to retailers. This year, investments in the quality of products, new packaging, and other marketing tools reached over LTL 2.7 million.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Credit unions earned 1 million
Credit unions that are members of the Association of Lithuanian Credit Unions earned net profits of LTL 1.1 million in January-September, 1.7 times more than they earned in this period of the previous year. The assets of the credit unions went up 55.8 percent to LTL 243.6 million, their loan portfolios grew 51.5 percent to LTL 180.9 million, and deposits advanced 57.4 percent to LTL 192.8 million in the first three quarters of this year. The association has 57 members. There are a total of 64 credit unions operating in the country.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 20th of October

Compulsory insurance market shrinks
Lithuania's compulsory motor third-party liability insurance market declined by 7.9 percent year-on-year to LTL 202.544 million in the first nine months of this year. A total of 1.471 million standard compulsory auto insurance policies were issued during the nine months, down 10.4 percent from a year earlier. Premiums written shrank by 2.2 percent to LTL 190.284 million. Insurance companies paid out a total of LTL 82.1 million in compulsory motor insurance claims in January-September, 46.6 percent more than in the same period a year ago. Lietuvos Draudimas and PZU Lietuva are the leaders of the market.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

People plan to invest into real estate
Around 9.6 percent of Lithuanian residents say they are going to buy housing in the nearest twelve months; 5.4 percent of the population have been paying housing loans at the present time, the survey carried by Spinter Tyrimai firm on the order of Delfi portal showed. The plans to buy a flat or a family house in the nearest time are most popular with the 18 to 35-age and university diploma holding individuals.
Some 64.5 percent of the respondents do not have any outstanding loans and do not intend to borrow. Another 13.7 percent have not taken out a loan so far but plan to do so.
Lietuvos Zinios

EU assistance to 5 companies
Five Lithuanian companies will receive LTL 13.2 million from European Union Structural Funds to implement research and technological development projects. The assistance will go to the companies Ekspla (LTL 4.4 million), Vittamed Technologijos (LTL 4.1 million), GTV (LTL 2.6 million), Baltec CNC Technologies (LTL 1.765 million) and Vilniaus Vingis (LTL 323,800).
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Wednesday, 19th of October

Lithuanians use nearly 3 million cards
Lithuanian commercial banks had issued 2.936 million different payment cards as of early October, 8.5 percent more than at the start of the year and 28.2 percent more than a year ago. The aggregate turnover of payment cards soared by 30.6 percent year-on-year to LTL 13.999 billion. There were 1,030 ATMs and about 16,900 places where cards were accepted for payment in the country at the beginning of October. Having made a quantitative jump in the card market, banks are now switching their focus to expanding the credit card market and developing new services.
Pure credit cards still account for just 4.1 percent of all payment cards. The number of cards reached 121,400 as of early October, rising by 11.9 percent on a quarterly basis.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Vilniaus Vingis incurred LTL 3.7 million loss
Vilniaus Vingis, a domestic manufacturer of electronics, suffered losses of LTL 3.7 million in the first three quarters of 2005. In January-September of the preceding year, the company earned profits of LTL 5.7 million.
"We suffered the most losses from our main operations, and the main reason for this was the increase in the price for copper, which went up to USD 4,000 a ton," Vaclovas Sleinotas, the head of Vilniaus Vingis, said.
In his words, the increase in copper prices will cost the company more than LTL 5 million.
According to confirmed figures, the sales of Vilniaus Vingis equalled LTL 60.75 million in January-September, a drop of 38 percent year-on-year. The Lithuanian manufacturer expects sales to amount to no less than LTL 82 million and hopes to suffer losses of no more than LTL 5.5 million in 2005.

Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe, a Lithuanian brewery, and Zemaitijos Pienas, one of the leading diaries in the country, won Superior Taste Awards from the International Taste & Quality Institute based in Brussels. Two kinds of cheeses of Zemaitijos Pienas were awarded in the event. Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe received awards for four brands of beer.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 18th of October

Spending on market research grows
Spending on market research in Lithuania grew by 13.6 percent to around LTL 23 million last year 2004, TNS Gallup said, citing data from the research association ESOMAR. Lithuania ranked eighth among 62 countries of the world in terms of growth in market research spending, after Romania, Argentina, China, Ireland, Croatia, Venezuela and the Philippines. The total expenditure on market research in 2004 reached USD 21.5 billion, up 7.5 percent compared with 2003.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Swiss want to build cellulose plant
Representatives of Mercer International, a Swiss company, which has built a cellulose plant in Germany, paid a visit to the Lithuanian Economy Ministry on Monday, where they inquired about a possibility to construct a similar plant in Lithuania.
"It was just a scout tour. The company has completed a factory in Germany, in the town of Stendhal; so, they are looking for new projects," Gediminas Rainys, the secretary under the ministry of economy, said.
Rainys confirmed the Swiss have not submitted any offer yet. According to the official, Russian DeKo is the only bidder for building a cellulose plant in the Baltic state. The Russian company wants to build a factory capable of processing up to 1.5 million cubic metres of wood every year. The sum of investment mentioned in a year ago submitted offer by DeKO reaches LTL 2.76 billion.
The Lithuanian government has been mulling a project for a cellulose factory over the past few years.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

New trolleybuses in Kaunas
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) intends to provide a loan of up to EUR 15 million to Autrolis, a municipal transport company, to finance the modernization of trolleybuses in Kaunas. Autrolis plans to buy 30-50 trolleybuses. The total estimated cost of the project is EUR 11-15 million. Tendering for the trolleybus contracts is expected to begin in December of this year. Autrolis currently has 149 trolleybuses, most of which are old. The last time the city's trolleybus fleet was renewed was in 1999. Last year Kauno Autobusai, another municipal transport company, bought 55 new buses using a 10-million-litas loan from the EBRD.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 17th of October

Ekranas places special share issue
Panevezys-based Ekranas, the only manufacturer of picture tubes in Lithuania, has revealed its plan to place a special LTL 14.19-million share issue. The shares of the new issue will be offered at a nominal price to the company's stockholder and creditor, CPT Investments, to capitalise the debt to this creditor, which amounts to LTL 14.19 million. The meeting of the stockholders of Ekranas is scheduled for November 15. Ekranas was indebted to the banks LTL 235 million in the end of the first six months of this year, LTL 35 million more than in the beginning of 2005.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Lithuania tightens airport checks
Lithuanian authorities are stepping up checks at the country's airports in an effort to prevent possible spread of the avian influenza, or bird flu, after this disease was detected in Europe. The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) said it has introduced mandatory checks of all luggage and goods coming from South Asia, Romania and Turkey. Veterinary doctors from the Border and Transport State Veterinary Service (BTSVS) will be put on duty at the airports of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga. Lithuania does not import poultry from Romania, Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan. In 2003 it also stopped poultry imports from Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and other countries where bird flu had been detected.
Verslo Zinios

Parex exceeded plans
Lithuania's Parex bank reported a net profit of LTL 6.03 million for the first nine months of this year, up 29 percent from LTL 4.69 million a year ago. The bank, which is part of the Parex Group, the third-largest financial group in the Baltics, said it exceeded its net profit target for the period by 42.2 percent.
Parex's assets grew by four percent from the start of the year to LTL 463.28 million. The net loan portfolio increased by ten percent to LTL 268.63 million and deposits were up 27 percent to 2LTL 77.53 million.
Verslo Zinios

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