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Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-2006

WEEK 43.2006

Saturday, 28th of October

Lietuvos Energija boosts pretax profit
Lithuania's state-run power transmission company Lietuvos Energija reported a pretax profit of LTL 37.7 million for the first nine months of this year, up from LTL 11.6 million a year earlier. Revenues for the nine months went up by 9.6 percent to LTL 708.1 million from LTL 645.8 million. Rimantas Sukys, finance director of the company, said that more power was imported and sold to the suppliers after Ignalina’s nuclear power plant was stopped for a scheduled repair.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Profits of Apranga soar
Apranga, Lithuania's leading clothing retailer with operations in all three Baltic countries, said its consolidated pretax profits for the first nine months of this year soared to LTL 13.4 million from LTL 5.2 million a year earlier. The group's sales for January-September jumped by 48 percent year-on-year to LTL 172 million.
"The main reason why our financial results have been improving is that our sales have been well above projected levels. We have managed to achieve a growth in sales even in those stores that are less profitable," Apranga CEO Rimantas Perveneckas said.
"We have closed some of the less-profitable stores and have brought some popular brands into the market," he added.
Lietuvos Zinios

Klaipedos Nafta offers to handle vacuum distillate imports for Mazeikiu refinery
Lithuania's state-run oil product terminal Klaipedos Nafta, through which Mazeikiu Nafta exports its oil products, has offered to handle vacuum distillate imports by sea for the fire-damaged crude refinery.
"We have confirmed that we are ready to handle vacuum gas oil shipments by sea. Mazeikiu Nafta is looking for (gas oil supplies) in order to develop production. We could do that technically and would initially unload one tanker per week," Klaipedos Nafta CEO Jurgis Ausra said.
According to unofficial information, Mazeikiu Nafta is in talks with Russia's Saratov oil refinery and Belarus' Mozyr plant over the purchase of vacuum distillate, which is used in the production of light oil products, including gasoline, diesel fuel and liquefied petroleum gas. The refineries currently export part of their vacuum distillate via Klaipedos Nafta.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 27th of October

Norfa lifts sales by 18.6 percent
Norfos Mazmena, the operator of the third-biggest grocery chain in Lithuania, reported sales of LTL 877 million for the first nine months of this year, up 18.6 percent from sales of LTL 739.301 million a year earlier. Dainius Dundulis, board chairman of the company, associated the growth with attractive pricing and flexible discount system of Norfa.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Finasta boosts profit to LTL 3.97 million
Lithuania's biggest financial brokerage company Finasta said its net profit for the first nine months of this year soared to LTL 3.97 million, up 35.7 percent from LTL 2.926 million a year earlier. Revenues for January-September more than doubled, to LTL 20.4 million from LTL 9.73 million.
This year Finasta spun off its corporate consulting department into a separate company, Finasta Imoniu Finansai (Finasta Corporate Finance). It also established a subsidiary in Latvia, Finasta Asset Management.
Verslo Zinios

LAL is under the spotlight of SIS
Lithuania’s flagman air carrier Lithuanian Airlines (LAL) is under the spotlight of Special Investigation Service (SIS). The service is investigating in failure to perform the office, office misuse and document forgery. Bernardas Gailius, spokesman of SIS, says that charges have not been brought against anyone yet. Authorities of LAL claim they are unaware of the investigation and suspect it could be related to its one of the biggest creditors, Vilnius Airport, with which LAL is on bad terms due to its debts and construction of a hangar. Saulius Stasiunas, CEO of LAL at interim, says that the company has not been informed about SIS investigation. Meanwhile Arunas Marcinkevicius, spokesman of Vilnius Airport, claims that the investigation is not related to the activities of the airport.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena

Thursday, 26th of October

Lithuanian banking profits soar 79 percent
Lithuanian banks posted LTL 493 million in aggregate profits for the first nine months of this year, up 79 percent from LTL 275.5 million a year earlier.
All domestic banks ended the three quarters of this year in the black, with the exception of the Lithuanian branch of Nordea Bank Finland, which suffered a loss of LTL 1.9 million.
SEB Vilniaus Bankas was the most profitable bank with a net profit of LTL 207 million, up from LTL 97.4 million a year earlier. Hansabankas, in second position, boosted its net profit to LTL 130.8 million from LTL 82.3 million. Further down the list were DnB Nord with a 50-million-litas profit, Snoras with LTL 37.3 million, Ukio Bankas with LTL 29.2 million, Sampo with LTL 18.5 million, Siauliu Bankas with LTL 11.6 million, Parex with LTL 5.3 million and Medicinos Bankas with LTL 2.9 million. The Vilnius branch of Germany's Bayerische Hypo-und Vereinsbank reported a profit of LTL 2.2 million for the nine months.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Baltic energy companies ready to invest in new N-plant in Lithuania
Energy companies from the three Baltic countries are prepared to invest their own resources to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania, which would replace the Chernobyl-type Ignalina plant. According to preliminary estimates, a new 800-1,600 megawatt facility, with either one or two reactors, would require between EUR 2.5 billion and EUR 4 billion in investment. The project could be completed in 2015, when an electricity shortage is likely to hit in the region. These estimates are provided in a feasibility study that was published on Wednesday.
Rymantas Juozaitis, CEO of the state-run power transmission firm Lietuvos Energija, said that the Lithuanian company and its counterparts in Latvia and Estonia, Latvenergo and Eesti Energia, would be in a position to invest in the new nuclear power plant project.
A contractor for the project is planned to be selected in two to four years' time. Then final estimates as to investment needs and the plant's capacity should be made known.
The list of 11 reactors selected by the experts includes reactors manufactured by Hitachi, General Electric, Areva Nuclear Power, Westinghouse, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Atomstroyeksport and Atomic Energy of Canada.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Stumbras posts higher profit
Lithuania's largest alcoholic beverage producer Stumbras said its pretax profit soared by 30 percent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier to LTL 16.2 million as sales rose by 13.3 percent to LTL 77.6 million.
"We have invested around LTL 6 million in our production capacity this year. The results show that investments have helped Stumbras to improve its operating efficiency and have started to pay off," Stumbras CEO Ceslovas Matulevicius said.
Exports for January-September surged by almost 63 percent to LTL 4.58 million. The company exports mostly vodka, brandies and liqueurs. Its priority export markets are Latvia, Estonia and Poland.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 25th of October

Lithuanian insurance market soars 33.6 percent
The Lithuanian insurance market grew by 33.6 percent in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier to reach LTL 1.02 billion. The non-life insurance market rose by 29.9 percent to LTL 740.9 million, accounting for 72.6 percent of the total premiums, while the life insurance market soared by 44.5 percent to LTL 278.9 million (27.4 percent).
Insurance companies paid out a total of LTL 342.17 million in claims during the nine months, 28 percent more than in the same period last year. Non-life insurance claim payouts rose by 29.6 percent to LTL 317.267 million and life insurance claim payouts were up 10.5 percent to LTL 24.902 million.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian refinery to get no crude from Kazakhstan
Lithuanian oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta, whose crude oil supply by pipeline from Russia has been cut off since the end of July, will not receive any crude from Kazakhstan in the near future. Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said on Tuesday that a planned deal with Kazakh funds had fallen through.
"Mazeikiu Nafta is considering all possible oil supply options, and one of them is to import oil by rail. Unfortunately, the deal with the Kazakh companies did not take place. Therefore, other additional options are being considered," he said.
Mazeikiu Nafta expected to receive 350,000 tons of Kazakh crude by rail.
The minister hinted at the possibility of getting vacuum gas oil from Belarus' Mozyr crude oil refinery. The Belarusian plant exports gas oil, which is used in the manufacturing of oil products, through the state-owned oil product terminal Klaipedos Nafta.
Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena

Snoras bank to get EUR 4.25 million subordinated loan
Vladimir Antonov, one of the main shareholders of Snoras, has agreed to extend a 4.25-million-euro subordinated loan to the Lithuanian bank. Antonov controls the Luxembourg-registered Conversgroup Holding Company, Snoras' largest single shareholder with a 49.9 percent stake, and is the chairman of the Lithuanian bank's supervisory council. Snoras said it would ask for the central bank's permission to include the long-term loan into its Tier II capital and thus strengthen its capital base.
Antonov provided a 20-million-euro subordinated loan to Snoras in September 2005, which was included into the Lithuanian bank's capital in July this year.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 24th of October

Foreign investors eye Lithuanian IT firms
Foreign investment companies have set their sights on Lithuanian information technology companies, experts at the investment banking company SEB Vilfima said in a report on Monday. They predicted that consolidation and an arrival of foreign investors was imminent in the country's IT market.
Tomas Andriuskevicius, deputy CEO of SEB Vilfima, said that foreign investors were mostly interested in IT system development, accounting and business management implementation, IT equipment lease and maintenance, and IT services integration companies.
Specialized IT companies from the Nordic countries, together with financial investors or on their own, are seen as the most likely buyers. Foreign IT companies often choose to enter the Baltic countries through acquisitions of small local firms. The analysts also noted the absence of giant companies with a clearly dominant position in the country's IT market.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Wine maker nets LTL 611,000
Lithuanian alcoholic drink producer Anyksciu Vynas reported a net profit of LTL 611,000 for the first nine months of this year, as sales jumped by 16.3 percent from a year earlier to LTL 22.546 million.
Anyksciu Vynas posted losses of LTL 3 million for January-September last year. The company returned to profit in October. It expects to earn net profit of LTL 1 million this year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Meffert AG Farbwerke sets up company in Lithuania
German building materials manufacturer Meffert AG Farbwerke has established a company in Lithuania, Meffert Baltica Farbwerke, after unveiling plans to open a plant in Jonava, in the central part of the country earlier this year. The new company was registered in Vilnius on Friday and is headed by Raimonds Upenieks, according to the Register of Legal Entities.
Meffert AG Farbwerke said last spring that it planned to invest around EUR 2 million in a new plant in Jonava with an annual capacity of 300 to 400 tons. The plant, slated to be opened in the spring of 2007, would manufacture paints for exterior use, primers, plaster and glazes.
Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 23rd of October

Olympic Casino to open new casino in Vilnius
Olympic Casino Group Baltija, the Lithuanian subsidiary of Olympic Entertainment Group, the largest gambling operator in the Baltic countries, aims to open new casino in Vilnius. The casino would operate 30 A-category slot machines, two card tables and roulette.
Gamblers lost LTL 81.86 in Lithuanian gaming establishments in the first half of this year, up by 42.6 percent from the year-earlier figure.
Lietuvos Zinios

Net profit of Lifosa plunges 2.2 times
Lithuanian phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa posted LTL 27.859 million in net profit for the first nine months of 2006, a plunge of 2.2 times versus the year-earlier figure. The sales, however, expanded by 11.3 percent, to LTL 490.285 million, from LTL 440.381 million in January-September 2005.
"The profit figure declined on the back of some 15-20 percent rise in key raw stuffs. However, the recurring costs actually remained unchanged," said Regvita Ivanoviene, Lifosa CFO.
Lietuvos Zinios

Vilniaus Baldai faces losses
Furniture maker Vilniaus Baldai posted LTL 193 million losses over the nine months of this year. At the same period last year, the company reported net profit of LTL 2.566 million. Solely in September, the furniture producer incurred losses of LTL 607,000, while last year it received LTL 852,000 net profit.
Nerijus Prancevicius, CEO of Vilniaus Baldai, says that strategic reorganisation forced the suspension of the production.
Lietuvos Zinios

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