Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 45.2005

Saturday, 12th of November

PKN Orlen submits proposal to buy stock of Mazeikiu Nafta
PKN Orlen, an oil company in Poland, has submitted a proposal to buy the stock in Mazeikiu Nafta now controlled by the Russian oil concern YUKOS. Representatives of the Polish company reported this at a meeting with Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas on Friday. The representatives also said they were interest in acquiring state owned stock of Mazeikiu Nafta. Igor Chalupec, the chairman of PKN Orlen, noted that the enterprise was operating in the petrochemical field, too. He claimed that the firm was ready to cooperate with other companies to purchase the Lithuanian refinery. Andrzej Olechowski, vice-chairman of the council of overseers of PKN Orlen, also took part in the meeting with Brazauskas.The prime minister said that the Lithuanian government was interested in finding an economically and politically acceptable buyer. According to Brazauskas, the state authorities are ready to analyse the offers of all potential buyers.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Expansion
Bet operator Omnibetas continues a rapid expansion in the market. It is to open two new betting points in Utena and Telsiai in the nearest future. Omnibetas presently has 16 betting points in the country. Top Sport and Orakulas that control 79 and 44 betting points respectively also provide betting services in Lithuania.
Lietuvos Rytas

New chairs in Fly LAL plane
Private capital national air carrier Fly LAL (former Lithuanian Airlines) has transformed an aircraft Boeing 737-500 and mounted leather chair produced US company Weber in business class section. Specialists of LAL Technics renewed the plane using minimal funds. With the growing demand of VIP clients servicing, other planes of the company will be renewed, too.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 11th of November

50 percent of Lithuanians are not insured
Almost a half of Lithuania's population has made no use of insurance services and the majority of uninsured nationals would only acquire the coverage if obliged by legislation, the latest poll conducted by the market surveyor Baltijos Tyrimai has shown.
A total of 47 percent of the polled said to make no use of insurance services. Some 19 percent of domestic population with no valid coverage would be prompted to use the services of an insurance company in pursue of greater security, some 17 percent mentioned personal accidents, and 12 percent - care of future for themselves and their close persons. The list of most popular insurance types was topped by the mandatory motor third party liability, which was insured by 38 percent of the respondents.
Some 13 percent of the respondents acquired a coverage for property, 10 percent got life insurance, 9 percent opted for comprehensive car insurance (kasko), while 7 percent chose the insurance against accidents, and 2 percent acquired travel insurance policies.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

CBA Aibe raises sales
CBA Aibe, the retail group active on Lithuania's and Latvia's markets, reported sales of LTL 631.1 million (VAT inclusive) for the first ten months of 2005, a rise of 15.6 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 546.3 million. The sales of Lithuania's retail chain CBA Aibe grew by 7 percent, to reach LTL 393.9 million, while the sales of Latvia's Aibe surged by 33 percent, to LTL 237.2 million in the reporting period. The chain of CBA Aibe comprises 469 stores in Lithuania as well as 433 stores and cafes in Latvia.
Lietuvos Rytas, RespublikaTransport bridge to Georgia
Lithuania and Georgia are mulling the implementation of a joint transport project, which will involve the conveyance of international cargo between the ports of Poti, Georgia, and Klaipeda. Moreover, two countries are negotiating direct air links between the states. Lithuania and Georgia are tackling possible extension of the route of shuttle container train Viking, which currently runs between Lithuania and Ukraine, to Georgia. The train could take up the route Poti/Batumi-Ilyichiovsk/Odessa-Klaipeda. The implementation of the project would lay a solid foundation for the trade of the countries in the Caspian Sea region with Western European and Scandinavian countries, the ministry noted. In summer Georgia and Lithuania concluded an agreement on cooperation between the ports of Klaipeda and Poti.
Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 10th of November

Exports increased by 25.1 percent
Lithuanian exports grew by 25.1 percent to LTL 22.972 billion in the first nine months of 2005 from a year earlier figure, while imports rose by 20.9 percent to reach LTL 29.899 billion, the Statistics Department has reported. The foreign trade deficit widened by 8.7 percent year-on-year to LTL 6.927 billion in the reporting period.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

If Draudimas profit
If Draudimas, one of Lithuania's leading non-life insurers, posted a pretax profit of LTL 1.66 million for the first nine months of this year, versus a loss of LTL 2.2 million in the same period a year ago. The company said premiums written during January-September soared by 32 percent to LTL 55.806 million, compared with the overall market growth of 4.9 percent.
Respublika

Lithuanians support charity
The Lithuanian population allocated over LTL 36 million in personal income tax payments to charity and sponsorship this year, some LTL 11.5 million more than last year, the State Tax Authority said. Almost 370,000 taxpayers designated two percent of their paid income tax for 2004 to nearly 9,000 beneficiaries. The biggest sums of money were allocated in Vilnius (more than LTL 2.8 million), Kaunas (LTL 1.8 million), Klaipeda (almost LTL 2.3 million), Siauliai (LTL 1.4 million) and Panevezys (LTL 1.6 million). The largest beneficiaries included the Vilnius branch of the Lithuanian Polish Union (LTL 264,000), the Lithuanian Red Cross Society (LTL 192,000), the charity fund Gabija Secondary School Community Centre (LTL 161,000), Klaipeda Hospital (LTL 139,000), the Orthodox Parish of St. Panteleimon in Visaginas (LTL 125,000) and others.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Wednesday, 9th of November

EC will hear complaint of Ekranas
The European Commission (EC) will consider a request of Ekranas, the Lithuanian colour picture tube (CPT) producer, to impose anti-dumping measures against the CPT producers from Latin America and Southeast Asia. The Dutch International Relations and Trade Policy (IRTP) company, the representative of Ekranas' interests, has obtained a confirmation of the EC Directorate General for Trade that the dumping complaint of the company has been registered. Backed by Czech CPT producer Tesla-Ecimex, Ekranas has applied to impose anti-dumping measures against CPT makers from Brasil, China, Malaisya, Sout Korea and Thailand. Ekranas was also mulling a possibility to apply for the levying of antidumping measures against Mexican CPT producers, Angelija Zokaitiene, Ekranas spokeswoman, said.
Lithuania's CPT producer claims to hold 58 percent of European small CPT market and almost 12 percent of medium CPT market. Ekranas controls 26 percent of European market in both segments.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Audimas lifts sales
Audimas, the largest manufacturer of sports and leisurewear in the Baltics, said its total sales for the first nine months jumped by 23.2 percent year-on-year to LTL 66.25 million. Exports for January-September rose by 25.8 percent year-on-year to LTL 51.59 million. Audimas' exports markets include Germany, Sweden, Britain, Holland, Spain and other countries.
Lietuvos Rytas

Budget revenues almost 7 percent above the target
The Lithuanian central government's budget revenues reached LTL 10.181 billion in the first ten months of this year, which was LTL 648.4 million or 6.8 percent above target, the Finance Ministry has announced. Including the EU support funds, the total figure of central government's budget revenues, as shown by preliminary estimations, made up LTL 11.729 billion in the reporting period. In October alone, the budget revenues, at LTL 1.144 billion, exceeded the target of LTL 893 million by LTL 251 million or 28.1 percent. Including the EU funds, the revenues of the central government's budget made up LTL 1.169 billion last month.
This year's budget projects revenues of LTL 13.859 billion, including LTL 2.677 billion in EU assistance funds.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Tuesday, 8th of November

Beer market grows by 5.1 percent
The Lithuanian beer market grew by 5.1 percent to 218.82 million litres in the first ten months of this year, compared with the same period last year. The Lithuanian Brewers' Association said that in October, its members sold a total of 19.8 million litres of beer, 11.7 percent less than in September. Svyturys-Utenos Alus remained the number one beer producer with a 48.19 percent market share, with beer sales for the ten months going up by 3.5 percent year-on-year to 10.545 million litres. Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe was the second with a 23.91 percent market share. Its beer sales fell by 0.1 percent to 52.33 million litres. Ragutis raised beer sales by 8.7 percent to 23.69 million litres and held a 10.83 percent market share. Gubernija recorded a 14.1 percent rise in beer sales to 23.48 million litres, which gave it a 10.73 percent market share. Rinkuskiai boosted beer sales by 12.8 percent to 8.29 million litres, while Kauno Alus achieved a 30.1 percent growth in sales to 5.58 million litres.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuania exported more sugar
Exports of sugar from Lithuania amounted to 77,550 tons in January-September 2005. Domestic companies exported 63,900 tons of sugar in the same period of 2004. In the first nine months of the year, the average price for sugar was LTL 1.54 a kilogram. In January-September 2004, the average sugar price stood at LTL 0.6 a kilogram. Tajikistan imported the largest amount - 23.432 tons - of sugar from Lithuania in this period. Lithuania imported over seven tons of sugar in the first three quarters of 2005, seven times more than the amount it imported in January-Septembers 2004. The average price for the imported sugar amounted to LTL 1.75 a kilogram, an increase of 24 percent year-on-year. Lithuania imported the largest amount of sugar - 5,087 tons - from Serbia and Montenegro.
Respublika

Klasco to withdraw from container terminal
Klaipedos Juru Kroviniu Kompanija (Klasco), which is controlled by Achemos Grupe, plans to end negotiations with Klaipedos Terminalo Grupe over the sale of its container terminal. Klasco expects to begin finalising the deal this week. Bronislovas Lubys, the president of Achemos Grupe, says the idea about the withdrawal from the container business was prompted by the increasing internal competition in the port and the need to strengthen the company's positions. In the past decade, container handling was sometimes bigger in Klasco and sometimes in Klaipedos Terminalas. But both companies have reported increasing sales.
Klasco, the biggest stevedoring company in the Port of Klaipeda, built liquid, bulk fertiliser, and grain terminals in 2000-2005. All the investments into the terminals, warehouses, infrastructure, and environmental protection measures amount to about LTL 180 million. Klasco earned net profits of LTL 13 million in January-September 2005.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Monday, 7th of November

Eurofarmacijos Vaistines in Poland are to be sold
Eurofarmacijos Vaistines, a company controlled by Lithuanian-owned Vilniaus Prekyba, considers selling its chain of 59 pharmacies in Poland.
"We are considering selling these pharmacies as an option, but we have no final decision as to whom, where and when. We are in a phase of discussion and we discuss only Poland," Vilniaus Prekyba director Diana Dominiene said.
Dominiene said Eurofarmacijos Vaistines was discussing various options for future development of its pharmacy chains in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
"We are analyzing how to operate (the pharmacies) and what management structure to adopt. The possible sale is just one of the few options," she said.
Eurofarmacijos Vaistines operates Eurovaistines, the largest pharmacy chain in Lithuania. In total, the chain currently has around 300 outlets in the three Baltic countries, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It sold its pharmacies in Romania earlier this year.
Verslo Zinios

Glass producer receives certificate
Etna, a manufacturer of glass products in Lithuania, has received a quality certificate from the Danish Technological Institute, an accredited quality testing laboratory, and intends to establish a new production branch in cooperation with four Swedish companies.
"This certificate will help both us, on the way to the foreign market, and our clients," Kestutis Grigaitis, the head of Etna, said.
Etna sells about 80 percent of its produce in Lithuania. The company exports products to western European and Scandinavian companies. Etna supplies insulating glass units to about 30 domestic manufacturers of windows.
Verslo Zinios

Furniture makers increase turnover
Turnover of the three lumber companies controlled by Vakaru Medienos Grupe reached LTL 216.99 million in January-October 2005, an increase of 25 percent year-on-year. Solely in October, the group advanced by nearly 7 percent. In October, the sales of the companies Klaipedos Mediena, Giriu Bizonas and Sakuona reached LTL 21.09 million.
Verslo Zinios

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