Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 18.2006

Saturday, 6th of May

Meffert AG Farbwerke to invest EUR 2 million in new Lithuanian plant
German building materials manufacturer Meffert AG Farbwerke plans to invest around 2 million euros in a new plant in Jonava, in central Lithuania. The plant, slated to be opened in the spring of 2007, will manufacture paints for exterior use, primers, plaster and glazes.
"It will be the largest plant of its kind in the Baltic countries with an annual capacity of 300 to 400 tons," Andrius Kalis, director of Tex-Color Vilnius, a company controlled by Meffert AG Farbwerke, said.
Tex-Color Vilnius, which is 60 percent owned by the German company, now manufactures dispersion paints in Marijampole, in southern Lithuania. It considers closing this plant after the new facility in Jonava has been built.
Lietuvos Zinios

Vilniaus Baldai boosts profit
Vilniaus Baldai, one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, posted a net profit of LTL 568,000 for the first quarter of this year, up 52.2 percent from LTL 373,000 a year earlier.
The Vilnius-based furniture manufacturer has invested LTL 65 million in production expansion and modernization over the past two years. Annual sales rose by 10.3 percent to LTL 110.849 million last year, but profit dropped to LTL 3.47 million, from LTL 8.234 million in the previous year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuania's January-April budget revenues 2.4 percent above target
The Lithuanian central government collected LTL 4.44 billion in budget revenues in the first four months of this year, exceeding its target by 2.4 percent or LTL 102.1 million. Total revenues including EU support funds amounted to LTL 5.207 billion.
The central government's budget revenues for April came to LTL 1.005 billion, which was 4.6 percent or LTL 46.75 million more than planned. Total revenues including EU funds reached LTL 1.156 billion last month.
The 2006 central government budget projects annual revenues of LTL 16.718 billion, including LTL 3.326 billion in EU funds.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Friday, 5th of May

Unemployment in Lithuania down to 3.5 percent in April
The jobless rate in Lithuania declined by 0.4 percentage points from March, to hit 3.5 percent in April. Compared with April 2005, the unemployment rate in the country shrank by 1.9 percentage points, the Labour Exchange reported.
The number of officially registered unemployed people was 74,500 as of May 1, a decline of 9.9 percent or 8,200 versus the month earlier figure and a plunge of 33.8 percent or 38,000 from year earlier.
As of May 1, the largest jobless rates were registered in the municipalities of Ignalina (9.4 percent), Akmene (9 percent) and Druskininkai (8.5 percent), while the lowest rates were in the municipality of Elektrenai (0.8 percent), the district of Trakai (1 percent) and the municipality of Neringa (1.8 percent).
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

RST power grid lifts Q1 profit
Lithuanian state-run power distribution company Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) posted a net profit of LTL 20.158 million for the first quarter of this year, up from LTL 5.804 million a year earlier. According to the company's quarterly report, its pretax profit for the first quarter more than trebled to LTL 25.799 million, up from LTL 8.174 million in the same period last year.
The power grid operator attributed the profit growth to a 12.6 percent increase in first-quarter electricity sales to 1.117 billion kilowatt-hours due to the colder weather this past winter.
Lietuvos Rytas

Profit of Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai
State-run railway operator Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai reported net audited profit of LTL 96.9 million for 2005 a rise of 34.6 percent since 2004 when it came in at LTL 72 million. Income of the company stood at LTL 1.105 billion, an 8.1 percent increase from 2004 when it arrived at LTL 1.022 billion.
Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai forecasts a 23.5 percent decline in profit to LTL 74.1 million this year. The turnover is expected to grow by 3.3 percent to LTL 1.141 billion. The company’s loss amounted to LTL 20 million last year due to tariff cut. The company does not rule out a possibility to boost railage tariffs this summer.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 4th of May

Baltic clothes retailer Apranga boosts sales to LTL 79.657 million
Apranga, Lithuania's leading clothing retailer with operations in all three Baltic countries, said its sales for the first four months of this year soared by 40.9 percent year-on-year to LTL 79.657 million, exceeding its target by four percent. The group's sales for April rose by 39.7 percent year-on-year to LTL 21.809 million.
In January-April, the fastest growth in sales was in Latvia, 53.3 percent. Sales in Lithuania rose by 38.1 percent and Estonian sales were up 30.9 percent.
Verslo Zinios

Global Finance selects SEB Vilniaus Bankas as Lithuania's best bank again
The international Global Finance magazine published in the United States has declared SEB Vilniaus Bankas, the largest Lithuania's commercial bank, the best in Lithuania for the eighth year in a row in its 2006 review for Central and Eastern European banking sector. Global Finance will publish its review for Central and Eastern Europe in a special edition due in mid-May.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

EU budget earmarks LTL 1.2 billion for Lithuania in 2007
Lithuania stands to receive EUR 1.236 billion of EU money in 2007, more than half of which should come in the form of structural aid. The funds are earmarked in the EU's draft budget for 2007 that was presented by European Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Dalia Grybauskaite on Wednesday.
"If Lithuania makes use of the opportunities provided to it, 2007 could be a very generous year for the country: the proposed financial support for Lithuania in 2007 is LTL 600 million higher than that allocated for this year," Grybauskaite said.
"The money, if wisely invested, can give an impressive boost. What is needed is to choose your direction carefully," she added.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 3rd of May

Passenger flow at Vilnius Airport up 15 percent
The passenger flow at the International Vilnius Airport rose 15 percent, year-on-year, to 375,500 in the first four months of 2006, although the number of flights handled by the airport, the largest in Lithuania, declined by 1 percent, to 8,740 in the reporting period.
In April alone, the airport handled 2,500 flights, down by 5 percent versus April 2005. The number of passengers, however, rose by 12.2 percent, year-on-year, to 109,900 last month, Arunas Marcinkevicius, Vilnius Airport spokesman, said.
The Vilnius Airport sees the passenger flow reaching approximately LTL 1.5 million in 2006 after a 28.9 percent surge, to 1.282 million passengers, last year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Klasco stevedore raises pretax earnings 62 percent
Klaipedos Juru Kroviniu Kompanija (Klasco), the largest stevedoring company in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda controlled by Achema Group, posted LTL 2.4 million in pretax earnings for the first three months of 2006, a surge of 62.2 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 1.48 million. The sales grew by 6 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 29.6 million in the reporting period.
All four units of the company were in the black in the first three months of 2006, although some terminals failed to implement the handling plans, Valentinas Greiciunas, Klasco CEO, said.
Lietuvos Zinios

YIT Kausta raises 2005 profits 91 times
YIT Kausta, one of Lithuania's largest construction and real estate companies controlled by Finland's YIT Construction, posted LTL 7.917 million in net profit for full 2005, a surge of 91 times from the 2004 figure of LTL 87,100. Full-year revenues almost doubled, to reach LTL 200.313 million, from LTL 107.9374 million in 2004.
Last year YIT Kausta set up two subsidiaries - LEZ Kausta Logistika and YIT Kausta Konstrukcija. The latter company, which has an authorized capital of LTL 10,000, was sold to Finland's Peikto Group for an undisclosed amount on January 27.
LEZ Kausta Logistika, which deals in logistics terminal development area, is implementing a logistics project at the free economic zone of Kaunas.
Earlier YIT Kausta said that the sales for the whole group totalled LTL 281.4 million in 2005, a surge of 1.9 times versus the 2004 figure of LTL 144.8 million.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 2nd of May

Lithuanian leasing market grows 4.2 percent
The Lithuanian leasing market grew by LTL 224 million or 4.2 percent in the first three months of 2006, year-on-year, to reach LTL 5.544 billion as of late March, the Lithuanian Leasing Association said. The total value of leasing contracts concluded in the three-month period reached LTL 1.3 billion, a rise of 54.2 percent from the January-to-March of 2005.
Hansabank group ranked No 1 on the leasing market with a 37.31 percent share in the reporting period and was followed closely by SEB VB Lizingas, the leasing subsidiary of SEB Vilniaus Bankas, which held 37.26 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2006. Sampo Banko Lizingas was third with a 6.53 percent market share, followed by Nord/LB Lizingas with 6.42 percent.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Lithuanian central government debt narrows to LTL 12.96 billion in March
Lithuanian central government debt narrowed by LTL 596.4 million in March from February to reach LTL 12.96 billion, which accounted for 16.7 percent of this year's projected GDP. The debt declined because the state repaid more money than it borrowed. Foreign debt shrank by LTL 298.1 million to LTL 9 billion over the month and represented 69.4 percent of the total debt. Domestic debt fell by LTL 297.3 million to LTL 3.96 billion.
Lietuvos Zinios

Detrimental constructions
Panevezys-based Panevezio Statybos Trestas (PST) incurred loss of LTL 234,070 in the first quarter of 2006. Last year the construction company earned net profit of LTL 1.434 million in the same period. Vygantas Sliesoraitis, PST board chairman, says that the financial statement of this year meet the expectations. PST projects growth of profit for the other quarters of this year.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

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