Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 5.2007

Saturday, 3rd of February

BMS raises sales 56 percent over 2006
BMS, the leading Lithuania's computer equipment retailer, reported LTL 156 million in sales for full 2006, a surge of 56 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 100.1 million.
"The growth has been driven mostly by the overall expansion of the market and increase in consumption. The income tax break also had its effects," Arturas Afanasenka, BMS CEO, said.
The company pursued fast expansion last year as it opened five new stores, including the first outlet in Latvia opened in Riga last summer. BMS would continue the expansion of its retail chain in 2007, Afanasenka added.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuanian gambling industry wins 186.94 million
Gamblers left behind LTL 186.94 million in Lithuanian gaming establishments last year, up 43.9 percent from LTL 129.94 million they lost the previous year. Gaming operators posted LTL 861.49 million in total revenues last year, a rise of 49.7 percent on the previous year, and distributed LTL 674.56 million in winnings, up 51.4 percent. There were 14 gaming operators in the country in 2006.
Kauno Diena

Stockman to enter Lithuania
Finland's leading retailer Stockmann has not given up hope to open a shopping centre in Lithuania. Four Seppala clothing stores, which are part of the Stockmann Group, currently operate in Lithuania. Hobby Hall, the mail-order unit of the group, is also set to resume its operations in this country.
Respublika

Friday, 2nd of February

Banking sector to avoid any slowdown in 2007
Lithuanian banks posted LTL 662.2 million in aggregate profits for full 2006, a surge of 87 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 354 million. Reinoldijus Sarkinas, the Bank of Lithuania governor, attributed the rise in profit to the growth of loan portfolio and an increase in fees. The rise in overall assets and loan portfolio of Lithuania's commercial banks will at least match last year's figure, he projects.
"This year opens the new period of EU financing. Moreover, the country would absorb the funds assigned in previous years, which would have its effects on the banks," said Sarkinas.
The overall loan portfolio soared by 48.9 percent, to LTL 38.6 billion, while the total amount of deposits grew by 20.5 percent, to LTL 30.3 billion, including LTL 17.9 billion in retail deposits, which expanded by 29.9 percent over 2006.
The aggregate assets of Lithuanian commercial banks and foreign bank branches reached LTL 58.9 billion as of late December, rising by 31.3 percent compared with the end of previous year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Gazprom to postpone expansion of CHP plant till late 2009
Russia's gas giant Gazprom, the owner of Kaunas combined heat-and-power (CHP) plant, seeks to postpone the expansion of capacities of the plant until the end of 2009.
The consortium led by Russia's gas monopoly did not renounce the investments envisaged in the agreement on privatization of Kaunas CHP plant, said Antanas Pranculis, CHP plant CEO. Yet, Gazprom had proposed to postpone the expansion till the end of 2009, he added.
"The decision should be known by summer," Pranculis said.
The management of CHP plant believes that the construction of new unit is not required for the meantime since Lithuania will suffer no shortage of electricity until the shutdown of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP).
Earlier the plant projected its capacities to rise by 60-80 MW, from current 170 MW, after the installation of additional gas turbines by the end of 2008. The value of the expansion project was then put at LTL 180-190 million.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Construction on new PVC windows plant begins
Ariogalos Eksperimentine Langu Gamykla, window producer, launched on Thursday the construction of a new modern PVC windows plant in the district of Raseiniai. The total value of the project is estimated to be LTL 14.4 million. The company said it had secured LTL 6.4 million from the EU Structural Funds and would borrow the rest from local banks. The new plant is expected to manufacture up to 370,000 square meters of PVC windows per year. The new facility, which will create more than 70 new jobs, is expected to become operational next September.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 1st of February

Lithuanian research market expected to grow
TNS Gallup, the largest public opinion and market research company in Lithuania, predicts that the country's market research sector will grow by 10-15 percent this year, saying that there are still unused possibilities for managers to increase the value of their companies through market research. TNS Gallup director Zydrunas Gaudiesius said that a growth in demand from small and medium-sized firms for market research services, a trend that emerged last year, was likely to continue in 2007.
"As the economy continues to grow at a fast rate, we see an increasing demand for qualitative research and consultations. This is particularly evident in the telecommunications, pharmaceutical and retail trade sectors, where high competition leads companies to switch to qualitative decision-making," he said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Hanner raises pretax profit in 2006
Hanner, real estate developer, posted LTL 94 million in pretax profit for full 2006, a surge of 59 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 59 million. Full-year revenues edged up by 1 percent, to LTL 155 million, from LTL 154 million in 2005. The rise in profit resulted on several years of successful investments in Lithuania, Latvia and Romania.
Respublika

Lithuanian economic sentiment improves in January
Lithuania's economic sentiment indicator rose to 11 percent in January from eight percent in December. It said the month-on-month improvement was due mainly to an increase of six points in the consumer and construction confidence indicators each, and of two points in confidence levels in the industrial and services sectors each.
Respublika

Wednesday, 31st of January

Achemos Grupe raises revenues
Achemos Grupe, one of Lithuania's largest business conglomerates with holdings in over 40 companies, reported preliminary revenues of LTL 2.56 billion for the full year 2006, up 21.9 percent from LTL 2.1 billion the previous year. The group's total investments in 2006 soared by 64 percent to LTL 439 million, Achemos Grupe President Bronislovas Lubys said.
He said the revenue growth in 2006 was due not only to the strong performance of the fertilizer manufacturer Achema, the group's main company, but also to successful operations of trade companies, especially the Agrochema retail network. The group's new chemical and petroleum product terminal in Klaipeda, which became operational last spring, also posted good results.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Construction prices surge
Construction prices soared by 10.6 percent in Lithuania in 2006 year-on-year. Residential construction prices rose by 12.4 percent, non-residential construction by 10.2 percent, and engineering structures by 9.8 percent in the reporting period. Year-on-year, the 19.8 percent surge in wages and overhead costs had the biggest impact on the construction price index in 2006.
Among building materials and products, the prices of concrete and metal products posted the steepest rise, at 8.1 percent and 8 percent, respectively, over the year.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Arvi group member buys Latvia's Reneta
Rietavo Veterinarine Sanitarija (RVS), the Lithuanian animal origin by-products management company and a part of agriculture and food group Arvi, has acquired 100 percent of Latvia's rival Reneta for an undisclosed amount.
With the purchase of Saldus-based company Rietavo Veterinarine Sanitarija sought to maintain the production levels and cut operating costs, Mindaugas Virskus, RVS CEO, said.
Latvia's Reneta, which has a history of cooperation with RVS, holds some 50 percent of respective domestic market and aims to collect up to 6,000 tons of animal origin by-products in Latvia this year.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Tuesday, 30th of January

Fate of Vilniaus Vingis to be sealed in the first quarter
The fate of Vilniaus Vingis, the Vilnius-based property management company, which has offloaded real estate holdings and transferred the production of deflection yokes to a subsidiary, will be sealed in the first quarter of this year as the company will decide whether to pursue or wind up its business.
Neringa Menciuniene, CEO of the company controlled by the investment house Hermis Capital, would not project when the decision could be made.
"That decision shall be taken by shareholders. Our future plans will depend on our customers, on their forthcoming orders. As of now, the orders are not growing," Menciuniene said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Mall Saules Miestas may get new owners
Estonia-equity real estate developer ELL Nekilnojamasis Turtas, a member of largest Baltic construction concern Merko, is negotiating the sale of approximately LTL 80 million worth commercial and trade centre Saules Miestas (Sun City), which is nearing the completion in Siauliai. However, Andrejus Trofimovas, ELL Nekilnojamasis Turtas CEO, would not disclose either the prospective buyers or the price of transaction.
"The prospective buyers have found us ourselves. Quite a few large investment companies, funds are coming to Lithuania these days, and they are interested in this facility," Trofimovas said.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Lietkabelis raises sales 35 percent over 2006
Lietkabelis, the only manufacturer of enamelled and installation wires and cables in the Baltics, reported sales of LTL 110 million for full 2006, a surge of 35 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 81.7 million. The company, which has recovered after being hit hard by the bankruptcy of picture tube maker Ekranas and a cut in orders of electronics company Vilniaus Vingis, is projecting a 10 percent rise in sales for 2007.
"We have offset the orders lost in Lithuania with new orders from Finland and Poland, which enables us to project growth for this year," Sigitas Gailiunas, Lietkabelis CEO, said.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 29th of January

Furniture maker posts losses
Vilniaus Baldai, furniture manufacturer, is projecting a net profit of LTL 0.5 million this year after posting losses of LTL 4 million last year, with annual revenue expected to rise to LTL 139.5 million, up 26.5 percent from LTL 110.3 million in 2006.
In December alone, Vilniaus Baldai's losses surged to LTL 2.082 million, from LTL 494,000 a year earlier.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuania's economy surges 7.4 percent in 2006
Lithuania's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surged by 7.4 percent in 2006 versus 2005. The national GDP totalled LTL 81.554 billion in current prices last year. In the fourth quarter alone the country's economy rose by 6.6 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 22.259 billion. GDP per capital stood at LTL 24,028, a rise of 8.1 percent versus 2005. In the fourth quarter alone, GDP per capital increased by 7.3 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 6,558.
The economic development was propelled by manufacturing, construction, transport, financial medication and real estate sectors, the department said. The added value created by those sectors expanded by 11 percent versus 11 percent, while the remaining types of economic activities boosted the added value by 4 percent.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

N-plant buys spent nuclear fuel containers
With Germany's Nukem Technologies running behind schedule with two decommissioning projects, Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) has acquired spent nuclear fuel containers for approximately LTL 14.5 million.
"We purchased those 14 containers since we believe that there are some hurdles with the project of storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, and we need to run the second unit. Thus, we opted to acquire containers," Saulius Urbonavicius, head of the INPP decommissioning service, said.
Urbonavicius admitted that the containers, each worth some EUR 300,000, had been acquired due to delays in the projects implemented by Nukem Technologies.
Verslo Zinios

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