Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-2006

WEEK 26.2006

Saturday, 1st of July

Lithuanian firms to compete with European defence giants for contracts
An opportunity to join the European Union's defence market is opening up for Lithuanian companies. A European defence equipment market regime is enforced in 22 EU member states, including Lithuania, on July 1. Countries involved in it commit themselves to announcing over EUR 1 million worth of procurement related to essential security interests that are not applied EU competition rules on a special website - a bulletin board.
There are exceptions for the procurement of scientific research, technologies, bacteriological and radiological goods and services, cryptography equipment, etc.
The intergovernmental regime, based on a voluntary basis, is expected to promote competition in the European defence procurement market. The main principles of the regime are fair and equal treatment of market participants, transparency, mutual support and mutual benefit.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuania kicks off digital TV era
The digital transmission of television programs has started in Lithuania several days ahead of schedule this week. Teo LT, the country's dominant fixed-line telephony operator, started transmitting digital terrestrial television programs in Vilnius on Thursday. The state-owned Lithuanian Radio and Television Centre (LRTC) launched digital TV transmission services in the capital city on Friday. Saturday, July 1, is a deadline for the start of digital TV broadcasts in Vilnius.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena

Representatives of LAL Investiciju Valdymas, the sole owner of flagship carrier flyLAL, are holding talks over the transfer of the company to Swedish air carrier FlyMe Europe. However, the agreement is not likely to be reached in the nearest future. The proposal of the Swedish company is more favourable to LAL’s owner at the moment but negotiations over the conditions of the agreement may be prolonged until the middle of September.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 30th of June

Construction prices up 0.6 percent in Lithuania in May
Construction prices in Lithuania edged up by 0.6 percent in May from April and were up 10 percent compared with the same period a year ago. Month-on-month, wages and overhead costs increased by 0.9 percent, while prices for construction materials and products went up by 0.3 percent. The per-hour cost of construction equipment operation grew by 0.6 percent.
Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian retail sales soar
Lithuanian retail sales grew by 14.7 percent in the first five months of this year from a year earlier to reach LTL 9.831 billion. Food retailers boosted their aggregate turnover for the reporting period by six percent, while non-food retailers, excluding motor sales, posted a 10.2 percent rise. In both groups, the best results were achieved by companies employing more than 50 people. The strongest growth rate, 30.8 percent, was recorded by textile, clothing and footwear retailers. The aggregate turnover of restaurants, bars and other catering establishments increased by 4.7 percent year-on-year to LTL 301.7 million. For companies employing 50 and more people, the growth rate was 29.8 percent.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Vilniaus Prekyba to plow some LTL 1.7 billion into Akropolis mall in Sofia
Lithuania's Vilniaus Prekyba retailer aims to invest some LTL 1.7 billion into the construction of commercial, entertainment, business and residential complex Akropolis in Sofia. The new centre will be built at the former plant territory. The first stage of construction project should be implemented in 2007-2009 with the second to be completed by 2012.
The total area of the centre should stretch up to 750,000 m2. The centre will accommodate commercial centres, office and residential premises, a movie theatre, an ice rink, restaurants and other facilities.
Sofia's Akropolis will be advertised in Russia and European countries, although it would mostly target Bulgaria's residents and undertakings.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 29th of June

EMP electronics recycler awards contract for new plant design
Lithuanian electronic waste recycler Elektroniniu Masinu Perdirbimas (Electronic Machines Processing, or EMP) has awarded an LTL 800,000 contract to Patikimas Partneris, a local company, to design a new refrigerator recycling plant. Patikimas Partneris, which is based in Salcininkai, in southeastern Lithuania, is to work out the design of the new plant and perform certain construction work by the beginning of November.
In the spring of this year, EMP signed a LTL 7-million contract with Germany's Anlagenbau Umwelt+Technik Chemnitz on the construction and equipment of a refrigerator recycling plant.
EMP plans to invest another LTL 3 million in the buildings, infrastructure and transport. It expects to have the new plant operational by the end of this year.
Verslo Zinios

Rubicon Group to merge biofuel producers into BioNovus
Rubicon Group aims to reorganize its four biofuel production and waste processing companies Aviridis, Balosa, Medvija and Skiedryne and merge them into a single company BioNovus in six months. The reorganization would be launched late in June, and the new company would be headed by Rolandas Jankauskas, current CEO of BioNovus.
"We have decided to merge the capacities of four companies owing to a particularly fast development of biofuel market, the growing range of biofuel applications and new areas emerging in the ecology business," Jankauskas said.
BioNovus, which will employ a workforce of about 160, will be headquartered in Vilnius.
Verslo Zinios

Government puts off decision on right of first refusal in refinery sale
The Lithuanian government on Wednesday postponed until next week a decision on waiving its right of first refusal to buy Yukos' 53.7 percent stake in Mazeikiu Nafta for the benefit of Poland's PKN Orlen, citing "technical reasons".
"The Economy Ministry had this issue on the agenda, but some additional preparation is needed. Therefore, by mutual agreement, we postponed this issue until next Wednesday," acting Prime Minister Zigmantas Balcytis said.
On June 14, the Economy Ministry received Yukos' request to confirm that the government would not exercise its right of first refusal on the Russian oil company's 53.7 percent stake in the Lithuanian oil refining and transportation complex.
PKN Orlen inked a deal with Yukos to purchase its majority stake in Mazeikiu Nafta on May 26. The Polish company is also buying a 30.66 percent stake in the refinery from the Lithuanian government.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 28th of June

First long-rail mill opens in Lithuania
Gelmagis, a subsidiary of the national railway operator Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, opened the country's first long-rail welding plant on Tuesday. Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai said that LTL 6 million had been invested to construct the plant in the district of Siauliai, in northern Lithuania, and another LTL 20 million to buy and install the equipment, which was supplied by the French company Geismar. The state railway operator, which until now purchased long-rail welding services in Latvia and Belarus, will be the main customer of the new plant with an annual production capacity of 115 kilometres of rails. The new plant will employ 16 people.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Unemployment level in Lithuania falls to 6.4 percent
The unemployment level in Lithuania fell by 3.8 percentage points to 6.4 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier, and was the lowest in the past five years, a labour force survey by the Statistics Department showed. Year-on-year, the employed population increased by 38,600 people to 1.484 million. The Statistics Department polled 9.700 people aged 15 and more.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Moody`s issues first ratings for Siauliu Bankas
International rating agency Moody's has issued its first ratings for Lithuania's Siauliu Bankas that is partially controlled by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Siauliu Bankas has been assigned with a long-term debt rating Ba3, short-term debt rating NP and financial strength rating D-, with stable outlook for all ratings.
The ratings reflected a stable market share controlled by Siauliu Bankas, its expertise gained on the market for Lithuania's small and mid-scale businesses, positive impact of EBRD on the improvement of its business, solid credit portfolio and liquidity indexes, the agency said in a statement.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 27th of June

Strong alcohol production up 15 percent in 2005
A total of 12 million litres of strong alcoholic beverages, as measured in 100 percent alcohol, were produced in Lithuania in 2005, a rise of 15 percent compared with 2004.
However, brandy production fell by four percent, whisky production by 32 percent, and gin production by 28 percent. Production of different sorts of non-sparkling wine increased by 22 percent last year to 23 million litres, while beer production went up by 7.6 percent to 290 million litres.
Verslo Zinios

Industrial sales rise 12.4 percent year-on-year
Lithuanian industrial sales grew by 12.4 percent in the first five months of this year compared with the same period a year ago. Year-on-year, sales in the mining and quarrying sector increased by 13.5 percent and sales in the manufacturing sector went up by 13.1 percent. Excluding refined petroleum products, the rise was 15.8 percent in each sector.
Verslo Zinios

Foreign funds representatives to sit on board of Sanitas
Sanitas, the largest Lithuania's pharmaceutical producer controlled by investment house Invalda and foreign investors, intends to elect representatives of Amber Trust II SCA and Citigroup Venture Capital International Jersey to the board of the Lithuanian company at the extraordinary shareholders meeting due on July 31. Sanitas, which acquired Poland's Jelfa earlier this year and saw the list of its shareholders grow following the placement of new shares issue, reviewed its management structure in April, eliminating the supervisory council and retaining the board.
Invalda and its associated persons, as well as the investment funds Amber Trust II SCA and Citigroup Venture Capital International Jersey hold a combined 90.53 percent stake in Sanitas.
Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 26th of June

Tobacco product sales rise to LTL 460.5 million in 2005
Tobacco product sales in Lithuania rose by 12.6 percent last year from a year earlier to LTL 460.5 million, according to preliminary data from the Statistics Department. The average retail price of tobacco products increased by 1.1 percent last year. Tobacco product imports into Lithuania soared by 50.1 percent to 3,300 tons, while exports trebled to reach 16,000 tons. Per capita cigarette consumption increased from 57 packs in 2004 to 59 packs in 2005.
Lietuvos Zinios

Belarus grants extra haulage permits to Lithuania
Lithuania has secured extra road haulage permits from Belarus, including an additional 1,000 bilateral permits, 10,000 transit permits and 1,000 third country permits. Lithuanian Transport Minister Petras Cesna said that this amount of permits should be sufficient for the country's carriers by the end of the year. Lithuania has granted an extra 1,500 bilateral permits, 2.500 transit permits and 1,000 third country permits to the neighbouring country for this year.
Some 252,000 units of Belarusian cargo were shipped via Lithuania last year. Lithuania exported 384,700 units of cargo to Belarus and imported 318,800 units from the neighbouring country.
Lietuvos Zinios

Meat processors
Meat processing companies Vilke and Agaras have submitted the Competition Council a request over the permission to merge. After the amalgamation, the company will become one of the biggest Lithuania’s meat processors.

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