Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 15.2006

Saturday, 15th of April

Lithuanian poverty rate rises to 17 percent in 2005
Lithuania's relative poverty rate rose by a percentage point in 2005 over 2004 to 17 percent of the population. The highest poverty rate was in rural areas, where 30 percent of the population below the relative poverty threshold last year. The poverty rate in the five largest cities and towns was eight percent, and in other towns, it was 15 percent.
Last year the poverty threshold for a consumer was LTL 363 per month, and for a household of two adults with two children aged 14 or under, it was LTL 979 per month.
Lietuvos Rytas

Alytaus Tekstile posts profit of LTL 1.6 million
Lithuania's struggling cotton textile manufacturer Alytaus Tekstile reported a profit of LTL 1.6 million on sales of LTL 19 million for the first quarter of this year. The profit was due to the sale of a property for LTL 6 million in February. The state-controlled company posted losses of LTL 3.446 million on sales of LTL 18.515 million for the first three months of 2005.
Alytaus Tekstile managed to trim annual losses by 14 percent to LTL 13.5 million last year, but sales fell by 8.2 percent to LTL 69.999 million.
Lietuvos Zinios

FDI in Lithuania up 16 percent to LTL 18.802 in 2005
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Lithuania reached LTL 18.802 billion as of January 1 this year, rising by LTL 2.61 billion or 16.1 percent from the same period a year ago.
FDI per capita stood at LTL 5,525 at the start of this year, LTL 798 or 16.9 percent higher than a year earlier.
Denmark accounted for the biggest share of FDI in Lithuania, 15.2 percent, followed by Sweden with 13.6 percent, Russia with 12.9 percent and Germany with 11.6 percent.
FDI from the EU countries rose by LTL 1.721 billion or 13.9 percent over the year to LTL 14.070 billion, accounting for 74.8 percent of all direct investment. FDI from the CIS states increased by LTL 1.067 million or 75.3 percent and represented 13.2 percent of the total.
The largest annual growth in investment was in the electricity, gas and water supply sector and the financial intermediation sector.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 14th of April

Harmonized index of consumer prices at 2.7 percent in Lithuania
Lithuania's 12-month average inflation rate, as measured by the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), made up 2.7 percent in March. The March index is seen decisive for the assessment of the country's readiness for the adoption of euro on January 1, 2007. In March the consumer prices as measured by HIPC firmed by 0.2 percent versus February, while the annual rate was 3.1 percent. All three indexes coincided with the rates as measured by the national consumer price index.
The Maastricht inflation criterion for March would be estimated late in April after the publication of consumer price indexes for all EU Members.
Kauno Deina, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Lifosa nets LTL 81.516 million in 2005
Lithuanian phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa reported an audited net profit of LTL 81.516 million for 2005, but will pay no dividend for the year. Shareholders will be asked to distribute a total of LTL 137.478 million in profits, of which LTL 95.421 million should be carried forward into the next financial year. If the profit distribution plan is approved by shareholders, LTL 4.076 million will go into legal reserves. Another LTL 1.165 million will be allocated for support, LTL 104,400 for social needs, and LTL 36.712 million for investment in tangible fixed assets.
Lietuvos Zinios

Snoras’ profit down to LTL 9.517 million
Snoras, a Lithuanian bank that is controlled by Russia's Konversbank, posted a net profit of LTL 9.517 million for the first quarter of this year, down 8.9 percent from a net profit of LTL 10.443 million a year earlier.
"The first-quarter profit surpassed our targets. The return ratios are good. The bank's financial results reflect a stable growth in financial service sales and provide a strong foundation for profitable operations throughout the year 2006," Naglis Stancikas, director of Snoras' Financial Management Service, said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 13th of April

Yukos expected to initial agreement on sale of controlling interest in Mazeikiu Nafta
Algirdas Brazauskas, Lithuania's Prime Minister, expects Russia's oil company Yukos to initial the agreement on the purchase and sale of controlling interest in Mazeikiu Nafta on Wednesday or on Thursday.
"We hope that the agreement will be signed at least on one part, by Yukos. The government will then have some time to implement certain measures, in particular to hold talks with prospective buyers. Then two agreements could be signed," Brazauskas said.
The government would sign the agreement immediately after the new investor into the sole Baltic oil refining and transportation complex was found, he noted. "We will not sign until we find the buyer."
Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Ryanair to launch flights from Kaunas to Frankfurt
Irish budget airline Ryanair will launch a new route from Lithuania's second-biggest city of Kaunas to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, in Germany, in October. The new service will start on October 25 and will operate four times a week.
"We expect to carry over 55,000 passengers on the new route in the first year of operation and to carry in excess of 300,000 passengers on all five routes annually," Lotta Lindquist-Brosjo, Ryanair's director for the Baltic and Nordic region, said.
The Irish budget airline said it was also starting new routes from its Frankfurt Hahn base to Fez and Marrakesh in Morocco, Granada and Murcia in Spain, Trieste and Verona in Italy, and Krakow and Wroclaw in Poland.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

RST power grid to pay LTL 0.07 dividend
Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST), the state-run power distribution company, intends to pay a dividend of LTL 0.07 per share for 2005, with a total of LTL 34.486 million to be set aside for this purpose. RST and its subsidiaries posted a consolidated net profit of LTL 18.737 million for 2005 on revenue of LTL 855.603 million, according to the audited financial statements.
Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 12th of April

Lithuania's consumer spending on Visa branded cards reaches EUR 506.9 million
Overall spending on Visa branded cards by Lithuania's consumers totalled EUR 506.9 million euros in 2005, a surge of 46 percent versus the year-earlier figure. The spending per card owner, who made the average of 19 payments with his or her card per year, made up EUR 265 euros, a rise of 22 percent year-on-year. The number of payments per card owner rose by 15 percent in the reporting period.
The owners of Visa cards made 36.3 million settlements with their cards at Lithuania's retail outlets in 2005, a surge of 36 percent versus 2004. The average settlement value expanded by 7 percent, year-on-year, to EUR 14.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Lietuvos Dujos to pay LTL 0.064 dividend
Lithuania's natural gas import and distribution company Lietuvos Dujos intends to distribute LTL 30 million in dividends, or LTL 0.064 per share, for 2005. The company, which is controlled by Russia's Gazprom and Germany's E.ON, reported to that the dividend proposal would be submitted for shareholders' approval at the April 25 general meeting. Lietuvos Dujos posted an audited net profit of LTL 46.203 million for 2005.
The shareholders are to distribute a total of LTL 1.282 billion in profits. The board proposes that LTL 1.250 billion be allocated for investment in business expansion and LTL 2.31 million be placed into legal reserves.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Rimi retailer lifts sales in Lithuania
Rimi Baltic, a joint venture between Finland's Kesko and Sweden's ICA, said its first-quarter sales in Lithuania soared by 31.5 percent year-on-year to EUR 42 million. The retail chain's first-quarter sales in all three Baltic countries totalled EUR 212.4 million, rising by 16.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 11th of April

Lithuanian new car registrations up 40 percent
A total of 3,849 new passenger cars were registered in Lithuania during the first quarter of this year, a rise of 33.9 percent from 2,875 cars in the same period last year, the market research company AutoTyrimai said. The number of cars registered for personal use increased to 2,991, from 2,310 a year earlier, and the number of cars for commercial use was up to 858 from 574.
Volkswagen, Skoda and Mitsubishi continued to top the rankings in the first quarter of this year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Bankrupt Ekranas halts purchase of deflection yokes from Vilniaus Vingis
Vilniaus Vingis, the Vilnius-based electronics maker, has halted the supply of deflection yokes to Ekranas, the embattled colour picture tube (CPT) producer that opted to initiate bankruptcy proceedings last week.
"Ekranas has not bought anything today, and we do not know what will be tomorrow. Everything is absolutely unclear, nobody tells us anything," Vaclovas Sleinota, Vilniaus Vingis CEO, said.
Vilniaus Vingis reduced the output of deflection yokes, which were still purchased by Samsung plant in Hungary and Thomson plant in Poland. Sleinota sounded unwilling to comment on the plans of the company: "The decisions will be made and announced by the new board."
Lietuvos Zinios

Snoras bank setting up first minibanks in Latvia
Snoras, the fourth largest Lithuania's commercial bank by assets, opened a minibank in Liepoja, its first in Latvia, on weekend. The bank, which holds 83.01 percent of Latvijas Krajbanka, aims to set up a total of 20 minibanks throughout the neighbouring country by the end of the year.
"We see good chances to double the current network, so it is quite feasible that some 100 new minibanks might be installed in Latvia in several coming years. The expansion of customer service network and the chain of minibanks in Latvia is one of the priority tasks for the bank," Raimondas Baranauskas, Snoras chairman, said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Monday 10th of April

Klaipedos Nafta's profit drops to LTL 10,071 million
Klaipedos Nafta, the state-run oil product terminal operator, posted a net profit of LTL 10.071 million for 2005, a drop of 45 percent from LTL 18.302 million in 2004. Pretax profit slumped by 41 percent to LTL 14.563 million.
The terminal operator, which is 70.63 percent owned by the state, intends to invest LTL 36 million this year as part of its 166-million-litas investment program for 2005-2010.
It is to repay LTL 11.114 million worth of loans and another LTL 4.265 million under lease contracts this year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuania's exports grow 29.6 percent
Lithuanian exports grew by 29.6 percent to LTL 5.586 billion in the first two months of 2006 versus the year earlier figure, while imports surged by 31.4 percent to reach LTL 6.963 billion. The foreign trade deficit widened by 39.1 percent year-on-year to LTL 1.377 billion in the reporting period.
The top export partners in the January-to-February period were Russia with 9.9 percent of total Lithuania's exports, Latvia with 9.5 percent, the US with 8.4 percent and Germany with 7.8 percent.
The EU accounted for 65.2 percent of Lithuania's total exports and 57.7 percent of total imports. The CIS accounted for 16.7 percent of exports and 32.4 percent of imports in the reporting period.
Lietuvos Zinios

LAL returns debts
The Lithuania’s flagship carrier Lithuanian Airlines (LAL) is speeding up the debt return to banks and plans to attract capital by selling 33 percent of shares to Swedish airline FlyMe Europe. Gediminas Ziemelis, board member of LAL, says that the company will strive to attract external finance recourses that will be needed in continuation of operation modernization. “We are negotiating with strategic partner Swedish air company FlyMe Europe over the acquisition of 33 percent of LAL. The principal agreement has been reached already. Audit of LAL is being carried out at the moment and details of the agreement are being harmonized,” Ziemelis said. This week, LAL returned LTL 6.6 million to Nord/LB Lietuva. LAL seeks to return over LTL 15 million of loans to the banks over 2006. LAL is to return LTL 4 million debts to Vilnius International Airport, too.
Lietuvos Zinios

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