Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 14.2006

Saturday, 8th of April

Ekranas files for bankruptcy
Lithuania's financially troubled TV tube manufacturer Ekranas filed for bankruptcy on Friday, citing unfavourable trends in the global electronics market. Ekranas said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) on Friday that its chief executive officer, Eimutis Zvybas, had asked the Panevezys regional court to open bankruptcy proceedings. The TV tube manufacturer said it was no longer able to pay to suppliers, pay back loans and fulfil other obligations. Despite an increase in demand for TV tubes this year, the plant cannot operate profitably due a working capital shortage.
It added that the failure of a glass-melting furnace had greatly aggravated the situation.
Ekranas posted a loss of LTL 110.3 million for 2005, versus a net profit of LTL 1.29 million in 2004. Sales dropped by 27.3 percent to LTL 339.6 million last year. Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena, Respublika

Sanitas to pay EUR 135 million for Poland's Jelfa
Sanitas, Lithuania's biggest pharmaceutical producer, said on Friday that it would pay PLN 534.378 million for an 84.5 percent of shares in Poland's Jelfa, a company much larger than itself. Sanitas CEO Saulius Jurgelenas said the acquisition of Jelfa was the largest ever Lithuanian investment in Poland, about ten times higher than Lithuania's direct investment in the neighbouring country to date.
"The acquisition of the Polish pharmaceutical plant will have a great impact on the development of Sanitas' operations," Jurgelenas said.
"Following the completion of the share purchase transaction, we will analyze the situation and take decisions on our next steps toward improving Jelfa's operating efficiency," he added.
Sanitas, together with its majority shareholder, Invalda, currently holds a 9.99 percent stake in Jelfa.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena

Lithuanian beer market grows 6 percent in Q1
The Lithuanian beer market grew by 6.1 percent to 50.26 million litres in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year. The data cover domestic sales by the country's top six breweries, which are members of the Lithuanian Brewers' Association said. Their beer sales for March rose by 5.6 percent year-on-year to 19.32 million litres, according to data from the association.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus posted a 5.2 percent growth in first-quarter sales to 12.82 million litres of beer. Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe raised beer sales by nine percent year-on-year to 12.06 million litres.
Lithuanian breweries exported 2.33 million litres of beer in the first quarter of this year, a rise of 55.3 percent year-on-year.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 7th of April

Lithuania's budget revenue 1.7 percent above target
The Lithuanian central government collected LTL 3.385 billion in budget revenue during the first quarter of this year, 1.7 percent more than planned. Total revenue, including EU funds, reached LTL 4.051 billion, a rise of 26 percent or almost LTL 837 million on the same period last year.
In March, the central government's budget revenue came in at LTL 1.194 billion, which was 1 percent above the target. Total revenue, including EU funds, amounted to LTL 1.561 billion.
This year's central government budget projects total annual revenue of LTL 16.718 billion, including LTL 3.326 billion of EU money.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Sanitas raises sales 2.4 times
Sanitas, the largest Lithuania's pharmaceutical group controlled by investment house Invalda, reported LTL 16.167 million in sales for the first three months of 2006, a surge of 2.4 times versus the year-earlier figure. For Lithuania alone, the Sanitas group, which also includes Slovak Hoechst-Biotika and Kaunas-based Altisana, posted LTL 4.04 million in three month sales, up by 1.9 times from the sales of LTL 2.16 million in the January-to-March period in 2005.
The group currently focused on its Slovak plant as it intended to boost its output, said Saulius Jurgelenas, Sanitas CEO.
Lietuvos Zinios

Sugar consumption is the same as a year ago
Lithuanian sugar sales amounted to 11.5 thousand tons in the internal market over the first three months, the same amount as last year. Additional 5,000 tons of sugar were sold in other EU countries, mainly in Latvia. The sugar exports to the third countries stood at 12.5 thousand, a decline of 3.4 times since the January-to-March period in 2005.
Rimantas Stulgys, president of association Cukrus, said that the exports of Lithuania-made sugar decreased because of absence of production surplus due to lower production quotas. Sugar production quota should decline by 7 percent to 94.161 thousand tons in the country this year.
Two sugar plants owned by Danisco Sugar and Marijampole-based Arvi Cukrus produce sugar in Lithuania presently. The latter factory is to withdraw from the sugar production business next year. Danisco Sugar closed one out of three sugar plants last year – Kursenai Sugar Factory.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 6th of April

Siemens, Hydrometer discover meters of Lithuania's Axis Industries
Siemens, Germany's electronics giant, has discovered the products of Axis Industries, the Lithuanian industry and energy projects company that has recently obtained a certificate for its thermal energy meters from the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB). Moreover, Axis Industries has already launched the sale of its thermal energy meters SKS to Hydrometer, the German producer of metering devices and systems for utilities.
The PTB quality certificate obtained would simplify the procedures for the approval of metrological type of those meters in almost all European countries.
Verslo Zinios

Ryanair to start flights from Kaunas to Liverpool
Irish budget airline Ryanair has said it is starting a new route from Lithuania's second-biggest city of Kaunas to Liverpool, in northern England, in October. Kaunas Airport said the new service would begin on October 3.
"We expect to carry 45,000 passengers on the new route to Liverpool starting October 3," Wilhelm Hamilton, a Ryanair representative, said at a news conference in Kaunas on Wednesday.
The new service will take the number of routes Ryanair operates from Kaunas to four. It now offers flights to London and Stockholm and is starting a new route to Dublin on April 29.
Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena

Expenditures of Lithuania's Compulsory Health Insurance Fund 22.3 percent above target
The expenditures of Lithuania's Compulsory Health Insurance Fund, at LTL 2.888 billion, exceeded the full-year target by 22.3 percent last year. Almost one-fifth of budget funds, i.e. LTL 484.5 million (LTL 44 million above the scheduled amount), were channelled to cover the costs of compensated medicines and medical aid measures.
Lietuvos Zinios

Wednesday, 5th of April

Dvarcioniu Keramika trims audited losses 6.3 times over 2005
Dvarcioniu Keramika, the largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles in the Baltics, trimmed audited losses by 6.3 times over 2005, to LTL 2.766 million, from LTL 17.475 million in 2004. Unaudited losses were reported at LTL 3.384 million.
Geraldas Kudrevicius, Dvarcioniu Keramika CFO, said earlier that some LTL 2.5 million in losses related with foreign currency effects, streamlining of products portfolio and manufacturing losses, were accrued in the first half of 2005.
Moreover, some LTL 1 million in losses were sustained following the investment of Poland's Opoczno into the Lithuanian tile maker, and were related with new hiring and dismissals, development of new products, reappraisal of loan portfolio and repurchase of promissory notes.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Passenger flow, flights numbers on rise at Vilnius Airport
Passenger flow at the International Vilnius Airport, the largest in Lithuania, totalled 265,600 in the first three months of 2006, a rise of 15 percent from the year-earlier figure. The number of flights edged up by 0.53 percent, to 6,270, in the reporting period.
In March alone, the passenger flow at the airport soared by 28.9 percent, year-on-year, to 95,770, said Arunas Marcinkevicius, the airport's spokesman. The number of flights rose by 0.7 percent, to 2,290. Passenger flow at the International Vilnius Airport surged by 28.9 percent, year-on-year, to reach 1.282 million in 2005, and is seen coming close to 1.5 million this year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Electricity sales by Ignalina N-plant up by 2 percent
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), which is left with a sole unit running, generated 2.929 billion kWh of electricity in the first three months of 2006. Electricity sales came in at 2.711 billion kWh, a rise of 2.1 percent from the year-earlier figure of 2.654 billion kWh. For 2006 the sales have been projected at 8.19 billion kWh due to some 60-days maintenance scheduled from July 29 till September 26.
Lietuvos Zinios

Tuesday, 4th of April

Ad Rem to ship cargo to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tajikistan
Ad Rem, the leading Lithuania's logistics and transportation group, has concluded cooperation agreements with Kazakh Globalink as it seeks to be one of the first Lithuania's forwarders to transport cargo to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
"This agreement has opened new business opportunities. Since now, we will be able to offer Lithuania's and other EU businessmen our cargo delivery and logistics services in the new regions," Stanislovas Kozelas, Ad Rem CEO, said.
The Lithuanian company would cooperate with its new business partner in the area of cargo transportation by land, sea and air. Moreover, the companies would coordinate complex deliveries.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

MG Baltic’s arm emerges as authorized dealer of Pepsi-Cola in Lithuania
Mineraliniai Vandenys, the spirits wholesaler, tobacco and consumer goods distributor controlled by MG Baltic concern, has become the authorized dealer of Pepsi-Cola in Lithuania where the soft drink giant controls some 1.3 percent of soft drinks market.
Mineraliniai Vandenys signed the long-term agreement over the supply of Pepsi-Cola products to the Lithuanian market with Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers Poland in Warsaw last Friday.
As set out in the agreement, Mineraliniai Vandenys will supply Pepsi and 7up drinks to Lithuania's retail chains, smaller shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Zemiatijos Pienas to retain lion's share of 2005 earnings
Zemaitijos Pienas, one of Lithuania's largest dairy producers, aims to transfer a part of last year's net earnings of LTL 9.839 million to the mandatory reserve and assign LTL 2.9 million for dividends. The lion's share of profit, however, will be retained. The board of the company has proposed its shareholders to retain LTL 6.796 million. The shareholders will vote on the proposal at the annual meeting due on April 14. Dividends should total LTL 2.903 million, or LTL 0.6 per share, while the transfer to the mandatory reserve should make up LTL 1.138 million.
The dairy group reported LTL 369 million in unaudited sales for full 2005, a rise of 9 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 339 million.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 3rd of April

Rail traffic rises in Lithuania, air cargo down
Freight traffic on Lithuanian railroads increased in the first two months of 2006, year-on-year, whereas the volume of goods moved by air declined. Rail freight volumes rose by 7.9 percent year-on-year to 8.134 million tons in the January-to-February period. Cargo traffic through the Klaipeda port and the Butinge crude oil terminal, meanwhile, declined by 8.1 percent to 3.932 million tons.
Lithuanian air carriers transported a total of 627,300 tons of cargo and mail in the first two months of 2006, a drop of 66.8 percent year-on-year. Passenger numbers increased by 5.5 percent to 80,400.
Lietuvos Zinios

Hronas develops cleaning business
Lithuanian capital group Hronas is expanding its cleaning business unit and expects to receive nearly LTL 10 million income from it this year. Hronas opened an outlet Svaros Profesionalams in Siauliai and is analysing possibilities to expand its network in Panevezys, Alytus and Marijampole within the next 2 years.
Hronas offers complex cleaning and washing solutions to both big and small companies, car depots, hospitals, education institutions etc.
Verlso Zinios

Export boosts metal industry
Over 60 percent of Lithuanian metal and machinery production is exported to Western Europe and Russia. Small and mid-sized companies with up to 50 employees comprise 90 percent of the companies in this sector in the country. Big companies with more than 250 employees account for 2 percent. However, the biggest companies create 60 percent of the total turnover of this industry and actively invest into the modernisation of technological equipment as well as quality management methodology.
Lietuvos Zinios

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