Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 20.2006

Saturday, 20th of May

President still hopeful to see euro in Lithuania in 2007
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus still believes that European Union's leaders may decide in Brussels in June to allow Lithuania adopt the euro as early as next year.
"The possibility exists in June, I do not think the doors are shut," Adamkus told journalists in Bulgarian on Friday. He added that the decision would depend on the political will of EU leaders.
In the president's words, "the euro issue is now between politicians and technocrats," who calculate the Lithuanian compliance to the Maastricht criteria by hundredth and thousandth of percent.
Adamkus also stressed the permit for Lithuania to adopt the euro in 2007 would indicate the EU's principles of openness and equality.
Lietuvos Rytas

Achema builds wind power mills
Achema’s company Achema Hidrostotys is starting the construction of wind power grids in Ipiltis, Kretinga region. The aggregate capacity of the six wind power grids will amount to 16,000 kilowatts, 20 times more than the present capacity of the two wind power grids operating in Lithuania presently.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Irlanda seeks to manage infrastructure in Elektrenai
Kaunas-based construction service company Irlanda, which controls building materials chain Aparici, seeks to construct and administrate the most important infrastructural objects worth several millions of litas in Elektrenai. Three Lithuanian companies have submitted their bids in the tender announced by Elektrenai municipality.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 19th of May

McDonald's has no expansion plans in Lithuania
Fast-food giant McDonald's intends to invest in improving the quality of its services in Lithuania, where it has been operating for ten years now, but has no expansion plans in the country.
"We do not plan to open any new restaurants in the coming years, but we will reorganize our unit in Vilnius' (main shopping street) Gedimino Avenue shortly," Virginija Girulska, McDonald's marketing director in the Baltic countries, said. "Also, from now on, our drive-through service McDrive will be available around the clock," she added.
Lietuvos Zinios

Grybauskaite named Lithuania's Partnership Leader 2005
EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Dalia Grybauskaite has been named Lithuania's Partnership Leader 2005 by the national committee of the International Chamber of Commerce ICC. Grybauskaite received the award for her contribution to promoting Lithuania in the world, her professional excellence and efforts to reform the EU budget and introduce innovations in her area of competence, the European Commission said.
Previous winners of the annual award include President Valdas Adamkus, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas and the Bank of Lithuania's chairman Reinoldijus Sarkinas.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Sales of Grigiskes surge 18.5 percent
Grigiskes, Lithuania's leading hardboard and toilet paper producer, posted sales of LTL 39.1 million for the first four months of 2006, a rise of 18.5 percent versus the year-earlier figure, as its pretax earnings came in at LTL 2.25 million. In April alone, the consolidated pretax earnings made up LTL 482,000, while sales reached LTL 9.2 million. Gintautas Pangonis, CEO of Grigiskes, says that though winter colds affected the sales of the company, it managed to reach the targeted profit over the four months of 2006.
Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 18th of May

DFDS Transport boosts Q1 revenues
DFDS Transport, one of the largest transport and logistics companies in Lithuania, reported revenues of LTL 18 million for the first quarter of this year, up 40 percent from LTL 12.9 million a year earlier. DFDS Transport said in a statement that its operating profit for the first quarter remained unchanged from last year's level because of an increase of about 20 percent in fuel prices, and market competition.
"The rapid growth in revenues was due to our strong position in the market and an active expansion of Lithuania's foreign trade. Our profit is unchanged from last year, but given the increase in diesel fuel prices, it is a good result," DFDS Transport CEO Kim Bartholdy said.
DFDS Transport projects an operating profit of LTL 4.3 million this year on revenues of LTL 78 million.
Verslo Zinios

EU's 2007-2013 budget earmarks EUR 10.7 billion for Lithuania
The European Union's spending plan for 2007-2013 earmarks EUR 10.667 billion in aid for Lithuania. On Wednesday, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union signed an agreement ending more than two years of discussions on the EU's multi-annual budget.
"It is a historic chance for Lithuania but also a test," EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Dalia Grybauskaite, said commenting on the signing of the agreement.
In her opinion, billions of euros of EU money, if wisely and carefully spent, can become a powerful driving force for the economy.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

UTP clothes retailer opens its 4th store in Ukraine
Lithuanian clothing retailer Utenos Trikotazo Prekyba (UTP) has opened its fourth store in Ukraine. UTP said that the new 200-square-meter store is located in Promenada, one of the largest shopping centres in Kiev.
"UTP has plans to establish several new stores in Ukraine this year. The number will depend on the circumstances," said Gintare Mierkiene, SBA marketing and public relations director.
Lieuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 17th of May

Losses of Anyksciu Vynas shrink 18 times
Anyksciu Vynas, the leading Lithuania's winemaker, saw its four-month losses shrink by 18 times, to LTL 100,000, from the losses of LTL 1.85 million in the January-to-April of 2005, as its sales rose by 21.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 8.9 million. In April alone, the sales grew by 27 percent, to LTL 2.494 million, while the net profit made up LTL 25,000.
"The company has come to a breakthrough, and is raising its sales on domestic market successfully. I believe that we will remain in the black in coming months," Marius Gudauskas, Anyksciu Vynas CEO, said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuanian construction sector grows 22 percent
Lithuanian builders carried out construction work for a total of LTL 1.043 billion during the first quarter of this year, a rise of 22 percent from a year earlier. The total value of construction work performed within the country reached LTL 1.033 billion, while the value of construction work carried out by Lithuanian companies abroad came to LTL 10 million, according to preliminary data.
New construction accounted for 51.5 percent of the total volume of construction work in the country, reconstruction for 23.8 percent, and repair and maintenance for 22.3 percent.
Non-residential construction accounted for 51 percent of the total volume.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Pakmarkas boosts turnover in Lithuania and Latvia
Packaging solutions company Pakmarkas posted a turnover of LTL 12 in the first quarter of 2006, a rise of 12 percent, year-on-year. Turnover of the subsidiary company of Pakmarkas in Latvia came in at LTL 2 million, up by 11 percent since the January-to March period in 2005.
The company will focus on development of printing products and improvement of customer care this year. Pakmarkas invested LTL 3.4 million in the modernisation of printing in 2005. This year the company will allocate additional LTL 2 for the updating of printing manufactory.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 16th of May

Stumbras’ sales up by one-fourth in January-April
Stumbras, Lithuania's leading spirits producer controlled by MG Baltic concern, reported LTL 36.245 million in sales for the first four months of 2006, a rise of 25.8 percent versus the year-earlier figure. In April alone, the sales expanded by 26 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 9.31 million. Sales of spirits alone surged by 45 percent, to LTL 7.341 million. Exports came in at LTL 1.919 million in the January-to-April period, an almost twofold rise from the year-earlier figure of LTL 1.008 million.
Vodka comprises some 60 percent of total spirits output of the distillery.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Nord/LB Lietuva changes name
The third biggest Lithuania’s commercial bank in terms of assets DnB Nord, formerly known as Nord/LB Lietuva, will invest LTL 3.5 million in the name change campaign.
Sven Herlyn, executive director of Bank DnB Nord, says that the new name represents both internal and external changes in the bank’s image. DnB Nord is a dynamic bank that follows market trends, he adds. All procedures related to the name changing are to be wrapped up by October 1.
Vygintas Bubnys, deputy board chairman of DnB Nord, claims that the bank does not plan to introduce new products to the market in the nearest future but will continue improving the present ones. The bank will focus on convenience, simplicity and comprehensibility of products as well as the speed of decision-making.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

VP market plans expansion
Lithuanian retail trade chain VP Market intends to open 50 additional Maxima stores in Latvia over the next 5 years. The company is constructing new warehouses in Riga and expands logistics complex currently.
The aggregate turnover of VP Market in the three Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania amounted to EUR 389.9 million in the first quarter of 2006, a 14.5 increase since the same period a year ago.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 15th of May

Lithuania's average annual HICP inflation at 2.7 percent in April
Lithuania's average annual inflation, as measured by the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), was 2.7 percent in April, the country's Statistics Department reported. The annual inflation rate, compared with April 2005, was 3.4 percent, while the monthly inflation rate, compared with March of this year, was 0.7 percent.
Verslo Zinios

New lottery market player
A new lottery operator is to launch activities in Lithuania. The name and the owners of the company are not disclosed. The operator has announced it looks for CEO in Vilnius. According to the press release, Lithuanian and Swedish companies, the founders of the new operator, are well known players of the local gambling markets. Olifeja, Zalgirio Loto and Fortuna Baltica are currently organising lotteries in Lithuania.
Lietuvos Zinios

Tourism projects
LTL 124.7 million are to be allocated to the public tourism infrastructure projects from the European Union structural funds in 2006. The authors of the tourism projects ask a total of LTL 472.2 million, 3.8 times more than it is planned to be allotted.
Respublika

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