Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-2006

WEEK 1.2007

Saturday, 6th of January

Siauliu Bankas launches ATM network
Siauliu Bankas has set up its first ATM in Siauliai. The bank aims to install nine more ATMs across Lithuania during a couple of months.
"We are setting up the first ATMs in major cities, which have the largest share of payment card holders. We also seek to promote the e-banking and expand the possibilities of our bank and our customers," Jonas Bartkus, head of Business Development Division of the bank, said.
The ATMs adapted for Visa and MasterCard holders will be installed in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai, Alytus, Druskininkai and Radviliskis.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuanian economic sentiment falls to 2006-low in December
Lithuania's economic sentiment indicator fell by four percentage points in December from November to 8 percent, the lowest level last year. This compares with the 2006 high of 18 percent reached in March.
The weakening of the composite indicator in December was due to a decline of seven points in industrial confidence, of six points in retail trade confidence, of two points in service confidence, and of one point in consumer confidence. The construction confidence indicator improved by two points. Economic sentiment weakened by one point compared with December 2005.
A survey of industrial companies in December showed that demand for production and production output continued to increase, but at a slower pace than in previous months. Company managers forecast a slowdown in production growth in the coming months, particularly in the machinery and equipment, and building materials sectors.

Butinge terminal handles 5.9 million tons of crude
Lithuania's Butinge terminal, which is owned by Mazeikiu Nafta, handled 5.9 million tons of crude oil last year, down 3.9 percent since 2005. Solely in December 2006, the terminal handled 500,000 tons of crude oil, 29.7 percent less than in December 2005.

Friday, 5th of January

Novaturas ends cooperation with over 100 agencies
Amid growing sales, Novaturas, the biggest tour operator in the Baltics, has ended cooperation with 139 Lithuanian travel agencies. Novaturas said that it has renewed cooperation agreements with 128 out of the 267 travel agencies it worked with last year.
"We think that not every newly-established or slow-growth agency is capable of selling Novaturas trips in a quality manner," Novaturas Sales Director Egle Jaliniauskiene said in a statement.
Novaturas has operations in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and is planning to expand into Finland. The group posted sales of LTL 220 million last year, up 34 percent from sales of LTL 164 million the previous year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Unemployment rises to 3.7 percent in December
Unemployment in Lithuania rose to 3.7 percent of the workforce in December from 3.3 percent in November. Year-on-year, the jobless rate was down from 4.1 percent in December 2005. The number of officially registered unemployed persons was 79,300 as of January 1 this year, 8,800 more than a year ago.
Among major cities and towns, Kaunas boasted the lowest unemployment rate, 2.4 percent, while the highest rate was in Panevezys, 5.3 percent.
Kauno Diena, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Poland's involvement to add capacity to new plant
Now that Poland is expected to join the Baltic States in building a new nuclear power station in Lithuania, it is planned to consider increasing the capacity of the plant to some 3,200 megawatts (MW). Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said this to reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Poland will be formally invited to join the nuclear power plant project on January 9, when representatives of the three Baltic countries and Poland plan to meet in Warsaw.
A 3,200-MW facility would have a capacity similar to that of two reactors at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP). In line with its EU accession deal, Lithuania closed one of the Ignalina plant's two reactors on December 31, 2004, with the entire plant planned to be closed at the end of 2009.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena

Thursday, 4th of January

Lithuania's government to wrap up rouble deposits restitution scheme in 2007
Lithuania's government aims to fully implement its scheme on the restitution of citizens' savings lost to rouble depreciation in 2007. Approximately LTL 700 million would be channelled for the purpose from the receipts on the sale of government's shares in Mazeikiu Nafta. Additional LTL 146 million were earmarked in the 2007 budget law. Earlier the government aimed to pay the remaining LTL 289 million, which would also be channelled from the receipts on Mazeikiu Nafta's shares, in 2008.
However, the government ruled to pay out the said LTL 289 million by the end of 2007 as it sought to fulfil its obligations to citizens. The authorities would pay a total of LTL 1.135 billion under the scheme this year.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Vilnius Airport says it would not raise charges
Vilnius International Airport will not raise charges in 2007 despite higher costs.
"Vilnius Airport would not change the rates of its two key fees once again this year although we believe that higher costs brought our profit down to LTL 18 million in 2006, from LTL 23 million in 2005," Arunas Marcinkevicius, the airport's spokesman, said.
Last year the airport slashed its departing passenger fee to LTL 50, from LTL 60. The aircraft landing fee was cut to LTL 45 per ton, from LTL 52.
Verslo Zinios

Mazeikiu Nafta remains largest company in the country
Mazeikiu Nafta, the sole oil refinery in the Baltics, remained by far the largest company in Lithuania, with sales of LTL 10.018 billion in the first nine months of this year. VP Market, the operator of the largest retail chain in the Baltic countries, ranked second with sales of LTL 3.97 billion.

Wednesday, 3rd of January

Aviation authority suspends Amber Air's license
The Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) has suspended the license of Amber Air, a local airline that started operations in 2005. The license had been suspended due to the bankruptcy proceedings of Amber Air. In November, the CAA prohibited its sole Saab 340B plane from taking off from Palanga Airport because of debts to the airport.
Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuanian Prime Minister says government set to cut income tax this year
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said on Tuesday that the government was set to further reduce the personal income tax in 2007. He added that the exact size of the tax cut should be decided around the middle of the year. The personal income tax was lowered from 33 percent to 27 percent last July. The current plan is to reduce the rate to 24 percent from the start of 2008.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Special Lithuania's government observer appointed at Mazeikiu Nafta
Saulius Vorauskas, former government representative at Mazeikiu Nafta, has been appointed a special government observer at the Lithuanian oil complex. Special government observer is one of the safeguards stipulated in the agreements on the purchase and sale of 30.66 percent of Mazeikiu Nafta. Special observer shall observe the decisions taken by the board and notify the Economy Minister about any decisions contradictory to Lithuania's national security or national energy

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