Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 50.2005

Saturday, 17th of December

Fast development of VP Market in Klaipeda
VP Market, the largest retailer in the Baltics, two shopping centres in Klaipeda, including the upgraded centre Hyper Maxima XXX and a new store Maxima XX, in pursuit of fast expansion of its Lithuania's retail chain.
Hyper Maxima XXX, which covers the total area of 13,600 m2, has been set out in the Klaipeda Akropolis mall. Investments into the reconstruction of the outlet made up some LTL 1 million. The construction and arrangement of Maxima XX, which covers the area of 2,000 m2, ate up the investments of almost LTL 10 million.
VP Market currently operates over 330 shopping centres in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Respublika

Finance Ministry raised inflation forecasts
Lithuania's finance ministry has raised its inflation projections for 2005 and 2006 following an unexpected surge in consumer prices in fall. The annual inflation forecasts for 2005 have been raised by 0.2 percentage points, to 2.7 percent. In 2006 the consumer price index (CPI) is expected to rise 2.6 percent, 0.5 percentage points above the previous forecasts, although the finance authorities believe that the index would still be in line with the Maastricht criteria. Lithuania aims to adopt euro on January 1, 2007. The annual inflation in Lithuania averaged at 2.4 percent in latest seven-month period, 0.2 percentage points below the respective Maastricht criterion, at 2.6 percent. In order to comply with the Maastricht inflation criterion, Lithuania must keep its inflation rate within 1.5 percentage points of the three best-performing EU countries.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

PST will build arena in Siauliai
Panevezio Statybos Trestas (PST), one of the leading construction companies in Lithuania, signed on Friday a general contract worth over LTL 63.4 million to build a sports and entertainment arena in the country's fourth largest city of Siauliai.
Construction on the arena is planned to start this month and be completed by the spring of 2007. The EU and the national government have allocated LTL 49.3 million in funding for the municipal project. Another LTL 6.3 million has been made available for the complex's engineering infrastructure under the government's investment program.
The 20,000-m2 multifunctional complex will house a 5,000-seat sports arena, also to be used for entertainment or exhibition purposes, as well as a 500-seat conference hall and commercial premises with a total area of 6,400 square meters.
Kauno Diena

Friday, 16th of December

Naujoji Energija wins tender to build wind power plants
Naujoji Energija, Lithuania's energy company, aims to build wind power plants with a combined generation capacity of 40 MW in the so-called second wind power generation zone between Klaipeda and Pagegiai, Western Lithuania, as the company has been announced the winner in a tender to build wind power plants in the said zone.
The winner of the tender is authorized to address the ministry of economy for a license to build wind power plants. The winning in the tender does not guarantee that the license would be issued eventually. The winners of previous wind power plant tenders included Iverneta, Kuprijus, BNE, Vejo Elektra, Lariteksas, Achemos Hidrostotys and Veju Spektras. However, actual generation of wind electricity has only been launched at several plants, and the country has to build some 100 wind-power plants in order to meet its commitments to Brussels. Late in November, Lietuvos Energija announced its fifth tender on licenses to build wind power plants in the fifth special zone located between Klaipeda and Rietavas, Western Lithuania. By the end of 2006 three more tenders will be announced.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Rimi Baltic opens discount store Supernetto
Rimi Baltic, a joint venture between Finland's Kesko and Sweden's ICA, opens a new Supernetto outlet in Mazeikiai, its 10th discount store in Lithuania. The new store will cover the area of almost 1,000 m2, and the vast range of goods on offer will include up to 1,200 of various brands. The chain operates 94 discount stores in all three Baltic countries. Apart Supernetto stores, Rimi Lietuva, a member of Rimi Baltic group, also controls 21 Rimi Supermarkets and 7 Rimi Hypermarkets. Rimi Lietuva sales grew by 3.4 percent to EUR 119.3 million over the 11 months of this year.
Verslo Zinios

Consumer prices seen rising 0.2 percent in December
Consumer prices in Lithuania should edge up by 0.2 percent in December amid the continuing rise in the prices of foodstuffs and fuel, Lithuania's Statistics Department has projected.
"The prices of foodstuffs and soft drinks should move higher this month, which would be the decisive factor for the overall increase in consumer prices. Moreover, the prices of transport goods and services, fuel in the first place, are going up. The prices of clothing and footwear, meanwhile, are projected to decline, although the weight of this group is not too significant," Almantas Danilevicius, senior expert with the department's econometric research unit, said.
In October and November the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.6 percent and 0 percent, respectively, although the department projected a 0.2 percent increase for both months.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 15th of December

Akmenes Cementas to burn tires
Akmenes Cementas plans to shut down its spinning stove and redesign it so that it can be used to burn old tires. The stove will start functioning at the beginning of April. Old tires will be used as supplementary fuel for cement manufacturing. The company will also receive LTL 94.4 as compensation for the collection and use of each tonne of tires. It is estimated that 7-8,000 old tires will be burned every year. Two years ago, Akmenes Cementas won a tender held by the Ministry of Environment for the disposal of old tires. The company spent about LTL 1 million to prepare the technology.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Flow of FDI is down
The foreign direct investment flow in Lithuania reached LTL 1.32 billion in the first ten months of this year, down by LTL 519 million or 28.2 percent from the same period a year ago. Taking into account direct investment by domestic companies abroad, the net FDI inflow amounted to LTL 768.2 million. The FDI flow more than halved in October compared with September, falling to LTL 105.7 million. The net investment inflow decreased almost fivefold to LTL 47.8 million.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Central government revenues above target
The revenues of Lithuania's central government budget exceeded the target by almost LTL 2 billion in the first eleven months of 2005. "There has been nothing of the kind before," Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said.
The central government budget had received some LTL 800 million in extra revenues this year, he said, adding that extraordinary revenues of the social insurance fund budget and municipal budgets came in at approximately LTL 400 million and LTL 300 million, respectively. Extra revenues of mandatory health insurance fund made up some LTL 300 million. The revenues of the central government budget came in at LTL 11.111 billion in the first eleven months of 2005, LTL 777.2 million or 7.5 percent above the target. Including the EU assistance, the revenues totalled LTL 12.731 billion.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 14th of December

Kalnapilis recieves in gold award at European Beer Star Award
Kalnapilis Grand and Kalnapilis 7.30 beer brands produced by Kalnapilis-Tauras Group, the second-largest Lithuania's brewer controlled by Denmark's Royal Unibrew, have raked in gold awards at European Beer Star Award 2005, one of the most prestigious European brewer competitions. Kalnapilis 7.30 has been announced the best in the Heller Bock beer category, while Kalnapilis Grand was the first in the Export category.
Lietuvos Rytas

Parliament cuts VAT on tickets for culture, sporting events
Lithuania's parliament has backed a proposal to levy lower VAT rate on tickets for theatre events, concerts, other culture and sporting events. The respective amendments to the Law on VAT authored by member of Labour Party Jonas Lionginas, chairman of parliamentary budget and finance committee, have won the approval of 83 MPs, with four abstentions and no votes against. The amendments stipulate the levying of 5 percent VAT on tickets for all kinds of artistic, culture and sporting events. Previously the cultural services rendered by non-profit legal entities were the only ones exempt from VAT. The 18 percent VAT rate was applicable in all other cases.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Kauno Diena

Chinese estimate Klaipeda port
A delegation of Chinese transport and trade experts has completed a ten-day on-site review of Baltic ports and aims to submit a report to the government concerning the terms and conditions for cargo conveyance and the outlook for economic cooperation.
The task group of Chinese transportation and trade experts, which visited the ports in Estonia and Latvia, favoured the port of Klaipeda the most. The Chinese delegation has praised Klaipeda port as a universal structure, which does not depend on the transit of one particular country or one particular cargo.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 13th of December

Sales of Stumbras distillery soar by 14 percent
Stumbras, the largest Lithuania's spirits producer controlled by MG Baltic concern, reported LTL 87.964 million in sales for the first eleven months of 2005, a rise of 14.4 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 76.921 million. Ceslovas Matulevicius, Stumbras' CEO, attributed the overall increase to stronger sales on domestic and foreign markets. Sales of spirits alone expanded by 8.3 percent, to reach LTL 70.257 million, while exports of beverages soared more than twofold, to LTL 3.562 million (ex VAT). The distillery posted LTL 12.274 million in net earnings for the first nine months of 2005, an increase of 4.9 percent from the year-earlier figure.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Doleta to invest EUR 3 million in new plant
Doleta, a Lithuanian manufacturer of windows and doors, intends to build a new plant next year, with planned investment of between LTL 8 million and LTL 10 million. Doleta CEO Vytautas Silevicius said that the company was looking to increase production capacities because of growing exports. The company expects construction on the new plant to begin early next year and take about six months to complete. The site and design of the new facility is yet to be finalized. The compan
said its export revenues for January-October surged by 54 percent year-on-year to LTL 8 million.
Verslo Zinios

Smelte stevedorer buys two advanced container forklifts
Klaipedos Smelte, a privately owned Lithuania's stevedoring company, has added two container handling forklifts CVS Ferrari, the first forklifts of that model in the Baltic countries, to its handling equipment park. The company acquired the forklifts from Italy's CVS Construzione Veicoli Speciali, which is controlled by Ferrari family.
Klaipedos Smelte handled 1.102 million tons of cargo in the first eleven months of 2005. Full year handling should reach 1.25 million tons, almost unchanged from the year-earlier figure of 1.243 million tons.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 12th of December

Levuo brings Swiss Tally Weijl brand to Lithuania
Levuo, Lithuania's clothing and accessories trader, has opened two clothes stores Tally Weijl in Kaunas and Klaipeda under the franchising arrangements with the Swiss company. "Youthful, aggressive Tally Weijl brand is well known throughout Europe," Deimantas Dalibogas, Levuo CEO, said.
Last week Levuo opened a total of 8 new stores in Lithuania, including three outlets in Kaunas-based Mega mall and five in Akropolis mall in Klaipeda. The Panevezys-headquartered clothes and accessories retailer also controls Dorado and Imitz networks. The company reported LTL 826,020 in net earnings on sales of LTL 37.844 million for 2004.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Court seizes shares of Lithuanian Airlines Cargo
Vilnius court decided on Friday to seize 100 percent of the shares in Lithuanian Airlines Cargo, the cargo terminal owned by Lietuvos Avialinijos (Lithuanian Airlines, or LAL), at the request of Vilnius International Airport. The shares would remain in LAL's possession, but the airline would not have the right to transfer them to third parties. Vilnius International Airport has filed a suit against LAL, the country's largest air carrier, for LTL 12 million over debts.
Verslo Zinios

Vilnius court suspends delisting of Lisco Baltic Service
Vilnius court has suspended the delisting of Lisco Baltic Service (LBS) from the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) at the demand of a small shareholder of the sole Lithuania's ferry operator controlled by Denmark's DFDS. Darius Siciunas, who lodged the claim at the Vilnius First City District Court, said that the court has imposed interim precautionary measures and suspended the decision of VSE, which provided for the removal of the Klaipeda-based ferry company from the Current List of the bourse from December 10.
LBS has set aside LTL 32.39 million in special provisions, which have not been used, however.
Verslo Zinios

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