Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 52.2005

Saturday, 31st of December

Insurance policy tariffs soar up
Compulsory motor civil liability insurance (CMCLI) tariffs have soared to record heights this year: this type of insurance got 8 times more expensive for drivers and motor vehicles of certain categories.
Since the middle of the year the price of CMCLI policy has increased by 25-50 percent. Insurance companies unanimously claim that the compulsory insurance tariffs have been raised due to increased damages therefore tariff reduction should not be expected.

Negotiations over Mazeikiu Nafta
The Lithuanian government has no information as yet if the two lowest bidders for Yukos' 53.7 percent stake in Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil or MN) have agreed to raise their bids.
"I have no confirmation as to whether TNK-BP and Lukoil, together with ConocoPhillips, have improved anything. We expect to have more information next week," the economy minister Kestutis Dauksys, who heads the government's negotiating team, said.
Dauksys also said that the government's negotiating team had not yet presented their position on the two Yukos-held options to buy more shares in MN, although they had intended to do so by the end of the year.
The government seeks cancellation of the options and of its 2002 agreements with the Russian investor. The simplest way to do so is for the government itself to buy the majority stake in the crude refinery.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Vilnius Vingis projects lower sales
Vilniaus Vingis, one of the EU's leading manufacturers of electronic components suffering from a downturn on its key markets, is projecting the sales of LTL 67 million for 2006, a plunge of 18.3 percent from the sales figure projected for full 2005.
Vilniaus Vingis posted LTL 3.73 million in losses on sales of LTL 60.75 million for the first nine months of 2005.
In October the electronics producer revised its performance figures forecasts down, with the sales figure cut by 35 percent, as compared with earlier projections, to some LTL 82 million.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 30th of December

Gas tariffs for Dujotekana have been raised
A Lithuanian energy company UAB Dujotekana and the Russian gas concern Gazprom have signed an agreement on quantity of natural gas supply to Lithuania in 2006 and gas tariffs.
In line with the agreement, the price of gas supplied by Gazprom to Dujotekana surged by nearly 40 percent. As of 2006, free users will pay LTL 430-440 per 1,000 cubic metres of gas, transportation expenses not included.
Dujotekana supplies gas to heat producers and industry companies.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

New nuclear power plant project
A project of a new nuclear power plant construction should be started in January 2006. Based on the sources of Lietuvos Rytas, the Ministry of Economy plans to send invitations to 25 investors next months. The potential investors will be asked to submit their proposals regarding construction of a new power plant in Lithuania; as well as explanations how the project could be implemented, what the investor’s role would be and how the Government will have to contribute to the project.
The investors will have two months for presenting their answers.
Jurgis Vilemas, board chairman of Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), believes that at present the situation is more favourable with regard to nuclear power plants than several years ago. One of the reasons is leap in natural gas tariffs. The academician admits that Lithuania will need a new nuclear power plant in 2020.
Lietuvos Rytas

Viciunai group interested in ice-cream production
Kaunas-based Viciunai group has started producing Nestle ice-cream in Lithuania and at present it offers the ice-cream in the three Baltic countries. The group does not rule out a possibility to undertake the ice-cream business itself.
Visvaldas Matijosaitis, director general of Viciunai group, says their goal is to conquer 5 percent of the ice-cream market in the Baltic countries.
Viciunai supplies Nestle ice-cream to the biggest trade centres and restaurants.
Viciunai group, which is producing fish products, is interested in UAB Kraitene. The bankruptcy case of the company should be announced in early January. UAB Kraitene is not producing ice-cream at present, the fish product production continues, however, on a very small scale.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 29th of December

Residents’ income tax will shrink
Lithuanian authorities have resolved to start reducing the residents’ income tax gradually starting next year. However, it is also planned to introduce new taxes.
The residents’ income tax will shrink from 33 percent to 27 percent as of July 1, 2006. In early 2008 it will amount to 24 percent. The influence of the reduced tax will be felt in 2007 already.
Experts claim that such moves are insufficient but they agree that the tax reduction is positive and will affect the labour market.

Flow of direct foreign investments reduces
As the reinvestments and other capital flows have reduced, the flow of direct foreign investments in Lithuania in nine months of this year shrank 28.1 percent (LTL 479.6 million) compared to the respective period last year, to LTL 1.23 million.
The Bank of Lithuania reported that the flow of direct foreign investments constituted LTL 610.1 million in the third quarter of this year.
Majority of direct investments reached the processing industry (LTL 532.5 million), financial mediation sector (LTL 407.1 million) and electricity, gas and water supply sector (LTL 115.9 million).
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Oil production volume declines
Lithuanian oil production reached 244,000 cubic meters in the first 11 months of this year, a decline of 29 percent from the same period last year.
Manifoldas was the only among the country's four oil drilling companies to post a slight increase in oil production for January-November, Geonafta, which holds a 50 percent stake in Manifoldas, said.
Geonafta's oil output for the 11 months slumped by 34 percent year-on-year to 64,600 cubic meters.
Antanas Jasas, CEO of Geonafta, said that the country's crude output continued to fall despite the fact that the oil companies had invested around LTL 310 million in oil exploration and production over the past five years.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 28th of December

Local exporters will not be supported anymore
The Lithuanian food industry will completely lose the already reducing export subsidies in seven years. Businesspeople claim that this will reduce attractiveness of Lithuanian goods in foreign markets and local farmers will be paid lower prices for their production.
In seven years Lithuanian exporters of agricultural products will lose the general subsidies for production exported to non-EU countries, as it was agreed during the World Trade Organisation’s negotiations last weekend. During the negotiations it was decided to prohibit countries to support their local exporters as of 2013.
Lietuvos Zinios

Hanner will carry out a project in Riga
Hanner, one of the biggest Lithuania’s real estate companies, has signed an agreement with the Danish investment fund Baltic Property Trust on building of multi-storey office and residential buildings in Riga. It is planned to build two multi-storey buildings near the trade centre Olympia in Riga. The project value exceeds EUR 30 million.
The constructions should be started next year and finished by 2009. The new buildings will remind of Europa - the highest office and trade centre building in the Baltic countries – that is located in Vilnius.
The project will be carried out by Hanner and the multi-storey buildings will be acquired by Baltic Property Trust.
Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuanians get more optimistic
A survey carried out by the Statistics Department reveals that in November, 26 percent of Lithuanian residents expected improvement of their families’ financial situation during the coming year. In November, residents were more optimistic about economic prospects of the country as well: 34 percent of the respondents believed in the improvement of Lithuania’s economy, up from 26 percent in September.The survey shows that Lithuanians are more optimistic about the saving prospects, too. However, there are fewer optimists in rural areas.
Statisticians report that in December, retail trade turnover grows in nearly all the areas.
Retail trade volume amounted to LTL 18.41 billion in I in January-October, a 13.9 percent rise year-on-year.
Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian insurance market grows
Based on the preliminary data of the Insurance Supervision Commission, Lithuanian insurance companies signed LTL 940,137 million direct insurance payments in January-November 2005, an 11.4 percent rise year-on-year.
The sum of non-life direct insurance premiums written this year has increased 8.3 percent, to LTL 694.877 million, while life insurance companies boosted the insurance premiums by 21.2 percent, to LTL 245.26 million.
Kauno Diena

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