|Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-
Saturday, 24th of February
Gubernija posts losses
Gubernija, Siauliai-based beer producer, reported losses of LTL 3.74 million for the full year 2006, down 9.8 percent from losses of LTL 4.145 million the previous year. According to Gubernija, the losses stood at LTL 4.4 million last year; however, they decreased by LTL 0.6 million by unrecognized profit.
Vilnius, Warsaw may soon reach political agreement on new N-plant
Lithuania and Poland may sign in Warsaw on March 2 a political agreement on the construction of new nuclear power reactors in Lithuania. Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas is scheduled to make a brief visit to Warsaw next Friday. Saulius Specius, another aide to the prime minister, said that Kirkilas and his Polish counterpart, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, were planning to sign a bilateral document. Specius confirmed that the planned new power plant project would be a key issue to be discussed during the meeting.
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a political agreement to build a nuclear power plant in March 2006. Poland has not yet formally become a partner in the project. Estonia, which had been the most sceptical towards Poland's participation, has recently agreed to bring the Poles on board.
Poland said at the end of last year that it would like to have a 25 percent stake in the future nuclear power plant.
Syrup producer plans to recover after reconstruction
Company Gliukoze, syrup and their blend producer, expects to produce at least 4,000 tons of syrup and reach almost LTL 9 million turnover this year after a year of reconstruction. Last year the company produced over 1,000 tons of syrup and posted a turnover of LTL 4.5 thousand. Gliukoze is to offer 4 sorts of glucose syrups.
The producer used LTL 3.4 million of EU funds. A general amount of investment project exceeded LTL 12 million.
Gliukoze is preparing for export expansion. The company previously exported 15 percent of the production to Belarus.
Edmundas Strodomskas, CEO of Gliukoze, forecasts that the demand for syrup will increase due to EU sugar reform.
Friday, 23rd of February
Dot LT plans expansion
Dot LT, the Kaunas-based air carrier, is mulling major expansion this year after posting a 66.3 percent surge, to LTL 28.189 million, in sales in 2006. The pretax earnings of the company, which is mostly active on foreign markets, totalled LTL 927,000 last year.
According to pessimistic scenario, the sales should grow approximately 40 percent in 2007, Evaldas Petkus, Dot LT CEO, said.
"We are projecting major expansion. We aim to purchase a larger jet Fokker 100, as well as ATR or Saab planes", Petkus added.
Dot LT, which is controlled by Lithuanian and Danish private investors and legal entities, posted LTL 159,000 in losses on sales of LTL 16.95 million in 2005.
Insurance market grows
The Lithuanian insurance market grew by 58.2 percent in January, year-on-year, to reach LTL 139.017 million. The non-life insurance market increased by 47.6 percent year-on-year to LTL 92.454 million, accounting for 66.5 percent of all premiums written. The life insurance market soared by 84.7 percent to LTL 46.563 million. Insurance companies paid out a total of LTL 45.755 million in claims last month, 43.3 percent more than a year ago. Non-life insurance claims payouts increased by 48 percent to LTL 42.162 million, while life insurance claims payouts were up 4.5 percent to LTL 3.593 million.
Lithuania expects pipeline repaired soon
Lithuania expects to soon receive from Russia the schedule of repairs on gas supply pipeline Druzba that suffered an accident last year. This expectation was voiced to representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry during the consultations with Lithuanian diplomats that took place in Vilnius on Wednesday and Thursday. The operator of the Druzba pipeline, Russian oil monopolist Transneft claims to have ceased oil supply to Lithuania last July due to an accident, forcing the Mazeikiai Oil Company to import oil by sea.
Last November, it was agreed that Russia would deliver the repairs schedule by March 15 this year.
Thursday, 22nd of February
EU may object to repeated state aid to Alytaus Tekstile
The European Union may not allow the Lithuanian government to provide financial support to the cotton textile manufacturer Alytaus Tekstile, which has already received more than LTL 20 million in direct and indirect aid from the state. The government will discuss what to do with the financially-troubled company next Monday.
However, Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said on Wednesday that the EU might object to granting rescue aid to Alytaus Tekstile for a second time.
The chairman of the Lithuanian Competition Council, Rimantas Stanikunas, said that the government should wait for an answer from the European Commission before taking any decisions on rescue aid to Alytaus Tekstile.
Alytaus Tekstile CEO Valdas Araminas said that the company needed a financial injection of around LTL 35 million as soon as possible, of which the government would provide LTL 30 million and the rest would be borrowed. Araminas said that if the government gave the go-ahead, the company would ask shareholders to increase the authorized share capital by LTL 45 million.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Eesti Energia sets up electricity trading subsidiary in Lithuania
Estonia's energy company Eesti Energia has set up a subsidiary Lumen Balticum for trade in electricity on the open energy market in Lithuania.
"Lithuania's energy market, liberalized in 2002, is open to various energy suppliers. This is a perfect opportunity for Eesti Energia to implement one of its strategic objectives - to develop new connections and products via the entry into new markets," said Sandor Liive, Eesti Energia chairman.
Stumbras boosts sales by 50 percent
Alcoholic beverage producer Stumbras said its sales jumped by almost 50 percent in January from a year earlier to LTL 6.23 million. The company attributed the growth to rising sales in foreign markets. It said exports more than doubled in the reporting period, to LTL 765,550 from LTL 362,710 a year ago. The company sold 29 percent more litres of production in Poland in January, while in Latvia and Estonia the sales grew by nearly 122 percent.
Stumbras plans to continue investing into technological upgrade this year.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika
Wednesday, 21st of February
Mazeikiu Nafta starts smaller vacuum unit
Mazeikiu Nafta refinery, which is controlled by Poland's PKN Orlen, has restarted a renovated vacuum distillation unit to partially replace a larger unit that was destroyed by fire last October and increased its light oil product output. The so-called small distillation unit had been removed from service 14 years ago.
"With the launch of this unit, we have completed the first stage of the production restoration plan. We can now process up to half of the amount of crude we had processed at the fire-damaged unit. The renovated unit markedly optimizes production and improves our efficiency," Mazeikiu Nafta CEO Paul Nelson English said.
Mazeikiu Nafta expects to restart the larger distillation unit, which was destroyed by fire on October 12, by the end of this year.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios
Hesburger to invest in new Lithuanian restaurants
Finnish fast-food chain Hesburger aims to plough EUR 1.6 million in new restaurants in Lithuania within a year. However, the investments in Latvia and Estonia would total EUR 10 million and EUR 5 million, respectively, in upcoming 12-month period.
"The key hurdle for the expansion of the chain is the shortage of suitable premises and employees. However, it does not prevent us from expanding," the chain pointed out.
Hesburger will open three restaurants in Klaipeda, Siauliai and Panevezys in summer.
Giriu Bizonas completes construction of woodchip board plant
Giriu Bizonas, a member of Vakaru Medienos Grupe, the leading Lithuania's timber and furniture group, has completed the construction of woodchip board plant valued over LTL 200 million. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) granted almost LTL 46 million for the project described as one of the largest projects supported by Lithuania's government and the EU funds. The new plant built on an 8.75-hectare area in a record short time - in one year - was opened officially on February 20.
This year the output of the new plant should reach some 300,000 m3 of woodchip boards. At full capacity the output should reach 460,000 m3, some 80 percent of which would be sold on Lithuania's market.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Tuesday, 20th of February
Antonov, Baranauskas hold 94 percent of Snoras Bank
Vladimir Antonov, the majority shareholder of Russia's Konversbank, and Raimondas Baranauskas, the board chairman of Lithuania's Snoras, have become the largest shareholders of the Lithuanian bank. Antonov and Baranauskas have purchased 160.947 million shares and jointly own 93.75 percent of voting shares in the bank. Antonov holds 68.65 percent and Baranauskas has 25.1 percent. Nearly 84 percent of shares in Snoras changed hands via nine over-the-counter transactions and block trades last Thursday.
Antonov and Baranauskas received the green light from the Bank of Lithuania to acquire and jointly own 93.75 percent of shares in Snoras last November.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Three banks to loan LTL 260 million for mall
Three Lithuanian banks have agreed to provide financing for a 260-million-litas entertainment and shopping centre, Panorama, under construction in Vilnius.
Hansabankas, SEB Vilniaus Bankas and Nordea Bank Lietuva said on Monday that they have signed a 207-million-litas syndicated loan agreement with the property development firm Saltesta. The loan is being arranged by Hansabankas.
“There are not many commercially attractive sites left in Vilnius for the development of shopping centres. This project has an exceptionally good location, and that is why we are confident that it will be a major draw for consumers,” Linas Paltanavicius, head of the corporate banking division at Hansabankas, said.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Lifosa sees lower sales
Russian-controlled Lithuanian phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa said its total sales revenue fell by 14.1 percent in January from a year earlier to LTL 57.039 million.
Sales of diammonium phosphate, Lifosa's main product, declined by 14 percent to 67,299 tons and revenue dropped by 19.7 percent to LTL 45.912 million.
Monday, 19th of February
Market research players projecting robust business development
Lithuania's market research companies are projecting robust growth in 2007 after posting solid results for full 2006. The risk analysis and survey group RAIT reported the strongest growth for 2006 as its sales surged by 50 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 2.1 million. The rise had resulted on the development of the company's business and the overall research market, Inga Nausediene, RAIT CEO, said.
The turnover of Vilmorus grew by 37 percent over the year, to reach LTL 1.44 million.
AC Nielsen, one of the leaders of domestic market research sector, raised full-year turnover by 23.5 percent, to LTL 8.4 million, from LTL 6.8 million in 2005.
The turnover of TNS Gallup, the largest Lithuania's market researcher, grew by 9 percent, year-on-year, to reach LTL 14 million.
Baltijos Tyrimai and Spinter Tyrimai do not release their performance figures.
Net earnings of Anyksciu Vynas decline
Lithuanian alcoholic drink producer Anyksciu Vynas posted LTL 2.099 million in preliminary net profit for full 2006, a decline of 13.44 percent versus the year-earlier figure. Full-year sales shrank by 7.3 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 33.831 million.
Earlier the company projected a net profit of some LTL 1 million on sales of approximately LTL 36 million for full 2006.
Nearly 40 percent stake in Snoras Bank changes hands
Some 39.97 percent of shares in the Lithuanian bank Snoras changed hands via six block deals worth LTL 38.405 million in total on the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) Thursday. The price per ordinary registered share was LTL 0.50 in all of the deals, which is half the par value of the share.
It is probable that at least some of the shares were purchased by Snoras Supervisory Board Chairman Vladimir Antonov and Management Board Chairman Raimondas Baranauskas. The two men obtained the green light from the Bank of Lithuania last November to acquire and jointly own 93.75 percent of shares in Snoras.
Until now, the Luxembourg-registered Conversgroup Holding Company was Snoras' largest individual shareholder with a 49.9 percent stake. Baranauskas held a 9.99 percent stake.
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