Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 8.2006

Saturday, 25th of February

MG Baltic buys Mitnija
MG Baltic, one of Lithuania's largest business conglomerates, is buying Mitnija, an industrial construction company, from private individuals. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
"As part of its concentration policy, MG Baltic has sold several small companies in recent years. As many as four of them were owned by the concern's subsidiary company, MG Baltic Investment," MG Baltic vice-president Raimondas Kurlianskis said.
"The acquisition of a large construction firm, therefore, is a logical and forward-looking step by the holding company and the whole group," he said.
Mitnija posted a 55 percent growth in revenue to LTL 126 million last year and expects to increase it to at least LTL 160 million this year. The company built an extension to the Akropolis shopping and entertainment complex in Vilnius and an Akropolis in Klaipeda. It is currently building a new Akropolis in Kaunas.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

VST power grid posts LTL 47.7 million profit for 2005
Lithuanian power distribution company VST reported a pretax profit of LTL 47.7 million for 2005, far surpassing its LTL 30-35 million estimate. The company, which operates the western part of the Lithuanian national power grid, posted a pretax profit of LTL 48.037 million and a net profit of LTL 21.951 million for the first nine months of 2005. Its net profit for 2004 reached LTL 5.918 million, with revenue at LTL 718.3 million, but the financial results are not comparable to those for 2005 because they were reported under different accounting standards.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Kaunas Airport looks to attract more airlines
With Ireland's Ryanair and Hungary's Wizz Air planning new routes from Lithuania's second-biggest city, Kaunas Airport expects a fourfold increase in passenger numbers to 300,000 this year and looks to attract more, smaller air carriers in the future. Kaunas Airport director Kestutis Cucenas said that the airport was in talks with small Swedish and Norwegian budget airlines but did not name them. With the arrival of Ryanair and Wizz Air, passenger traffic at Kaunas Airport reached around 80,000 last year, a fourfold rise from 2004.
Kaunas Airport plans to build a 4,000-m2 terminal, estimated to cost LTL 10-12 million, to comply with the Schengen requirements and remain open to travellers from non-Schengen countries after the country joins the free movement area.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 24th of February

Lithuanian industrial sales rise 13.7 percent
Lithuanian industrial sales grew by 13.7 in January from the same period a year ago, but fell by 6.6 percent compared with December. On a working-day adjusted basis, industrial sales rose by 13.7 percent year-on-year and were up 0.1 percent month-on-month. Sales in the mining and quarrying sector and the manufacturing sector went up by 12.1 percent year-on-year. Excluding refined petroleum products, the rise was 15.8 percent. Month-on-month, total sales in these sectors declined by 9.7 percent. Excluding refined oil products, the fall was 10.4 percent.
Verslo Zinios

Net earnings of Alita surge 35 percent in 2005
Alita, Lithuania's leading alcoholic beverage producer, reported LTL 15.825 million in unaudited net earnings for full 2005, a surge of 35 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 11.75 million. The company's annual sales came in at LTL 100.217 million, almost unchanged from the 2004 figure of LTL 100.212 million.
Alita CEO Vytautas Junevicius, associates the company’s growth with increasing sales in other markets, especially Poland.
The exports of Alita soared 7.5 times to LTL 9.47 million in 2005, year-on-year. Alita exports its production to Great Britain, Ireland, Finland, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and other countries.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Russia's banks about to come to Lithuania
Russia's banks are interested in Lithuania's market and will enter it in several years to come, Haregin A.Tosunian, President of the Association of Russian Banks has predicted.
"Lithuania is very attractive for our banks, mostly due to the minimum language barrier, well-preserved warm relationships, which eliminate the barriers for business. I am sure that we will see new banks entering Lithuania in several years to come," he said at Thursday's news conference in Vilnius.
Small Russia's bank Konversbank, which holds 49.9 percent of Snoras, the fourth Lithuania's commercial bank by assets, via its Luxembourg subsidiary, has so far been the only Russian bank to operate on Lithuania's market.
Russia's banks were eager to enter European market, Tosunian noted.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 23rd of February

Snaige to make fridges under Western brand
Snaige, the only refrigerator manufacturer in the Baltics, has signed a contract with an unnamed international group, based in a Western country, to produce refrigerators for the Russian market under the latter's brand name.
"This will help to increase production at the Kaliningrad plant and increase its efficiency," Snaige CEO Mindaugas Sestokas said. "We don't plan to boost its capacities this year."
He declined to give any details about the contract, citing confidentiality reasons.
Snaige has recently bought a Russian company, Liga Service, as part of its plans to expand its presence in Russia.
The Lithuanian company expected to raise its market share in Russia to ten percent last year and increase it further to 20 percent in the next few years.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Lithuanian salaries rise 10.9 percent
Average gross salaries in Lithuania's economy, excluding sole proprietorships, rose by 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005 from a year earlier figure, to reach LTL 1,453, while the average net salaries increased by 9.8 percent in the reporting period, to LTL 1,030. Real average wages in the entire economy rose by 6.7 percent over the period, with the rise in the public sector, at 6.4 percent, succumbing to the increase in the private sector, at 7.3 percent. The average gross salaries in the private sector surged by 11.8 percent, to LTL 1,398 in the reporting period, and the net salaries in the sector averaged at LTL 994.6, a rise of 10.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2004. In the public sector, the average gross salaries, at LTL 1,534, expanded by 10.6 percent, while the net salaries increased by 9.5 percent, to average at LTL 1,082.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Tile producer reports losses
Dvarcioniu Keramika, the largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles in the Baltics, reported a preliminary loss of LTL 3.384 million for 2005. The company's audited financial result for 2004 was a loss of LTL 17.475 million. Dvarcioniu Keramika said in a statement that last year's result was mainly due to LTL 2.5 million worth of losses that had accrued prior to the company's restructuring. Another LTL 1 million of the 2005 loss is attributable to costs incurred during the period of restructuring, including costs related to staff restructuring, refinancing of the loan portfolio and development of new products.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Wednesday, 22nd of February

Gubernija trims losses 35 percent over 2005
Gubernija, the Siauliai-based beer producer controlled by a number of corporate and private investors, reported LTL 3.098 million in unaudited losses for full 2005, a decline of 35.7 percent versus the year-earlier losses of LTL 4.816 million. The brewer's sales rose by 8.8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 54.819 million in 2005.
According to the data made available by the Lithuanian Brewers' Association, Gubernija sold 27.5 million litres of beer last year, a rise of 11.1 percent versus 2004, and held 10.71 percent of domestic beer market.
Lietuvos Zinios

Stumbras is most profitable distillery in Baltics
Lithuania's Stumbras is the most profitable alcoholic beverage producer in the Baltic countries, SEB Vilniaus Bankas said in a report. The company's net profit margin reached 16.2 percent in January-September 2005. Alita, another major Lithuanian alcohol producer, was second with 12.8 percent, and Estonia's Saku Olletehase was third with 11.3 percent. Vilniaus Degtine, the Lithuanian subsidiary of the French group Belvedere, achieved a net profit margin of 10.1 percent in the reporting period, while net profitability of Latvijas Balzams, Latvia's biggest alcohol producer, reached a mere 2.9 percent.
Stumbras' full-year pretax profit soared to LTL 21.6 million in 2005, up from LTL 7.31million in 2004. Revenue rose by LTL 13.8 percent to 102.133 million last year.
SEB Vilniaus Bankas forecasts that the company's net profit will fall to around LTL 18.4 million this year, down from an estimated net profit of LTL 19.5 million for 2005.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena

If Draudimas posts LTL 250,000 profit
If Draudimas, one of Lithuania's leading non-life insurers, reported a profit of LTL 250,000 for 2005, versus a loss of LTL 2.212 million in 2004. If Draudimas said its premiums written soared by 35.6 percent to LTL 74.06 million last year, compared with the overall market growth of 10.9 percent.
"Last year marked a turning point both for the country's insurance market and for us," said If Draudimas CEO Darius Kamuntavicius. "The bankruptcy of Ingo Baltic made customers more cautious about insurance companies. They began to choose stable and reliable companies, which helped us grow at an even faster rate."
If Draudimas said it raised its market share to 9.8 percent by the end of 2005, up from eight percent a year ago.
Verslo Zinios, Respublik

Tuesday, 21st of February

EU-harmonized index of consumer prices stood at 2.7 percent in January
The average annual inflation rate estimated as a percentage change of EU-harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) totalled 2.7 percent in Lithuania in January, 0.1 points below the average inflation rate assessed on the basis of national consumer price index (CPI). The annual HICP inflation made up 3.5 percent on a twelve-month basis in January, while the monthly rise was 0.5 percent, in line with CPI.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Anyksciu Vynas posted LTL 2.3 million profit
Lithuanian alcoholic drink producer Anyksciu Vynas posted a pretax profit of LTL 2.3 million for 2005, compared to a loss of LTL 3.77 million in 2004. Sales rose by 12.8 percent to LTL 36.84 million last year, up from LTL 32.66 million in the previous year, the company reported.
Marius Gudauskas, director of the company, says that a successful end of the year proves that Anyksciu Vynas is getting rid of the label of not prestigious production producer gained in the soviet era.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Sanitas vows to revise its offer for Poland's Jelfa up
Sanitas, the largest Lithuania's pharmaceutical producer, intends to revise its offer for Poland's Jelfa up. Sanitas has sent a letter to the Polish treasury notifying of its intentions. The company did not specify any details of the revised offer. The Kaunas-based company previously offered LTL 257.72 million for the 47.83 percent stake in Jelfa that has been put on sale by Poland's public authorities and PZU insurer. The Lithuanian company would need to raise its price by over LTL 8.58 million so as to overcome Logis Partners, the rivalling bidder.
Sanitas has won the tender on the sale of Jelfa's stake with the offer of PLN 87.1 per Jelfa's share.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 20th of February

Hansabankas projecting 20 percent rise in earnings for 2006
Hansabankas group, which seeks to become the leading player on Lithuania's banking and other financial services market in 2007, is projecting a 20.4 percent rise in net earnings, to LTL 165 million in 2006, from LTL 137 million last year. In 2005 the net earnings of the group rose by 23.3 percent or LTL 25.9 million from the 2004 figure of LTL 111.1 million.
Loan portfolio of the group grew by LTL 3 billion (55.4 percent) over a year and amounted to LTL 8.4 billion in late 2005. The factoring portfolio increased by 26.2 percent to LTL 4.4 billion, while leasing portfolio soared by LTL 580 million to LTL 1.9 billion in the end of 2005. The amount of deposits in Hansabankas surged by 2.2 billion to LTL 7.9 billion. The bank controlled the biggest loan market share – 30.3 percent in 2005.
Verslo Zinios

Troubles of STACS
The State Tobacco and Alcohol Control Service (STACS) is proposed to be subordinate to the Economy Ministry but not to the government as of July 1, 2006. Social democrat Birute Vesaite, chairwoman of Seimas Business and Occupation Commission and a member of Economy Committee, has registered amendments to the Alcohol Control and Tobacco Control Laws in the secretariat of Seimas meetings. Verslo Zinios

Anyksciu Varis expands market
Anyksciai-based the sole Baltic welding electrode producer Anyksciu Varis has certified quality management system meeting the requirements of ISO 9001 standard. The company is projecting an even growth and targets at new realisation markets. Last year Anyksciu Varis sold over 2.8 thousand tons of welding electrodes for LTL 9.93 million. The producer exports half of its production. 680 tons of the production was exported to Kaliningrad. The income of the company surged nearly by one-tenth in 2005. The demand of welding electrodes in Lithuania decreased by 6 percent last year. Meanwhile the demand for electrodes increased in Latvia, where Anyksciu Varis has its trade company Varis Elektrodi. Belarus imports 5 tons of Lithuania-made electrodes.
Lietuvos Rytas

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