Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 9.200

Saturday, 3rd of March

Air Lithuania putting trademark on sale
Debt-ridden bankrupt air carrier Air Lithuania, which halted regular flights back in 2005, will attempt to sell its trademark.
"The trademark is a registered property of the company, and we try to sell it," Edvardas Kochanauskas, the company's authorized representative, said.
The trademark might be of interest to air carriers and other companies concerned, he noted. The sale price has not been disclosed as yet.
Danish Air Lease acquired the sole aircraft of Air Lithuania - ATR 42-300 - for LTL 2.7 million last year. The debts of Air Lithuania stood at some LTL 23 million as of March 2006.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne eyeing RST
Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne (PSE), the Polish energy company, is eager to acquire Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST), the state-run operator of power grids in the eastern part of Lithuania.
"We would like to acquire RST. First we need Lithuania's consent for such a takeover," said Jacek Socha, PSE president.
The Polish energy group is expected to join eight Polish electricity suppliers.
"With the electricity systems of both countries merged and a stake of Lithuania's power plant obtained, the purchase of electricity supplier [RST] would enable to take hold of a share of that market," Socha noted.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Klaipedos Nafta raises revenues
Lithuania's state-run oil product terminal operator Klaipedos Nafta posted revenues of LTL 14.8 million for the first two months of this year, up 10.4 percent from LTL 13.4 million a year earlier. The terminal handled 1.034 million tons of oil products during the two months, down 2.4 percent from the same period a year ago.
"The results are positive if considering extremely poor weather conditions," Eugenijus Vilunas, Klaipedos Nafta spokesman, said.
Mazeikiu Nafta, previously the largest customer of Klaipeda terminal, accounted for some 40 percent of total two-month handling at the terminal.
Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 2nd of March

Net profit of Mazeikiu Nafta plummets 4.6 times in 2006
Mazeikiu Nafta, the sole Baltic oil refining and transportation complex controlled by the Polish oil concern PKN Orlen, reported LTL 192.058 million in preliminary unaudited consolidated net profit for full 2006, a plunge of 4.6 times versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 887.764 million. The oil company, hit by approximately LTL 130 million in fire losses, earlier projected its annual profit to reach LTL 245 million. Full-year revenues increased by 6.3 percent, to LTL 11.865 billion, from LTL 11.156 billion a year earlier.
"The fire, which broke out in autumn, has not plunged us into losses in 2006. Despite difficult environment we have managed to offer high-quality products and meet the demands of target markets," Paul Nelson English, Mazeikiu Nafta CEO, said.
Overall volume sales declined to 7.963 million tons, from 8.511 million tons a year before. Western Europe accounted for 39 percent of total sales of the company or 3.091 million tons.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Lithuania raises tobacco excise duties 30 percent
The price of most popular cigarettes in Lithuania will rise by approximately 14 percent as the country has raised tobacco excise duty by 30 percent on March 1. The state budget will rake in some LTL 20 million in additional revenues in 2007 as a result of latest hike. As part of its EU accession commitments, Lithuania has pledged to raise the tobacco excise duty gradually by December 31, 2009, so as to reach the minimum EU tobacco excise level. Excise duties will be raised each year till 2010.
Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuania ranks 51st in global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index
Lithuania ranks 51st, surpassing closest neighbours, in the first-ever global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum. The top three countries praised as most attractive for tourism development include Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Estonia ranks 28th leaving Lithuania far behind. Latvia and Poland rank 53rd and 63rd, respectively.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 1st of March

Alytaus Tekstile stops manufacturing
Alytaus Tekstile, the struggling state-run cotton textile producer, has suspended manufacturing as the workers have gone on strike against the planned re-privatization of the company, while Valdas Araminas, company's CEO, has opted to resign.
Araminas expected his application for resignation to be approved soon, perhaps next week.
"I do not see any sense [in staying here], the situation is grave. Some bars are standing idle since the company has no money to buy the required raw stuff. Other bars have suspended manufacturing amid the protests of workers who have not received wages for several months. On Thursday we will notify our customers in writing that we are no longer able to fulfil their orders since we are short of working assets. On top of that, some creditors of the company, including RST, Litesko reportedly aim to claim their money back," Araminas said.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Fermentas raises sales
Fermentas, biotechnology company, posted sales of LTL 50.7 million for full 2006, a surge of 35 percent versus the year-earlier figure. The sales on Lithuania's market alone soared by 51.5 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 338,000.
Two-thirds of company's exports were channelled to Europe, 25 percent - to the US and Canada, and over 10 percent - to Asian markets. The company ships its products to 70 foreign markets. 99 percent of the company’s procession should be exported in the future.
Lietuvos Zinios

Tile maker back in black
Dvarcioniu Keramika, manufacturer of ceramic tiles, posted LTL 95,000 in net profit for full 2006, reversing the year-earlier losses of LTL 2.766 million. The revenues of the company soared by 34 percent to LTL 56.9 million. The rise in turnover was the result of stronger sales, the upgrade of the range of goods and an increase in customer numbers, the company said in a statement.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 28th of February

Advertising market grows by 18.3 percent
The Lithuanian advertising market expanded by 18.3 percent to LTL 430.1 million last year, from LTL 155 million the previous year. Television grabbed the biggest share of the advertising pie, 43.5 percent, with TV advertising revenues up 20.6 percent to LTL 187 million. Newspapers raised advertising revenues by 13.2 percent to LTL 120 million last year, while magazines posted a 20.5 percent increase in advertising revenues to LTL 53 million. Radio stations' advertising revenues rose by 9.8 percent to LTL 28 million. Spending on outdoor advertising grew by 18.4 percent to LTL 29.6 million. Internet sites generated LTL 12 million in advertising revenues, 50 percent more than a year ago, while movie theatres saw advertising revenues quadruple to LTL 0.5 million.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Eurovaistine raises sales in Baltics
Eurovaistine, the operator of pharmacies in all three Baltic countries, posted LTL 565 million in consolidated sales for full 2006, a surge of 34.2 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 421 million.
“We opened 30 new pharmacies in the three Baltic countries last year. The opening of the biggest and exclusive pharmacies Eurovaistine in malls Akropolis in Kliapeda and Vilnius was very significant,” Ignas Staskevicius, Eurovaistine chairman, said.
Verslo Zinios

A total of 1.526 million people stayed at Lithuania's accommodation establishments in 2006, a rise of 15.1 percent from the year-earlier figure. The number of guests from Lithuania grew by 19.4 percent, to 769,000, while the number of foreigners increased by 11.1 percent, to 756,800 in the reporting period.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 27th of February 27

Government plans to sell Alytaus Tekstile
The Lithuanian government will try to sell a 69.56 percent stake in Alytaus Tekstile after a failed attempt to rescue the financially-troubled the cotton textile manufacturer. However, textile business experts criticize the plan, saying that the moribund company is not attractive to investors. Gintautas Andriuskevicius, a former long-time CEO of Alytaus Tekstile, said he could not imagine who could buy the company.
The government's Strategic Planning Committee took the decision to privatize the majority stake in Alytaus Tekstile on Monday.
Sweden's Boras Wafveri Group, which failed in its bid to buy Alytaus Tekstile several years earlier, said at the end of last year that it could make another attempt to purchase the company at an attractive price.
The cotton textile plant has since received around LTL 28 million in aid from the state, but has failed to return to profitable operations.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Average salary rose by 19.1 percent
Average monthly gross earnings in Lithuania rose by 19.1 percent in the fourth quarter of this year from a year earlier to LTL 1,731 and net monthly earnings were up 25.6 percent to LTL 1,294. Real wages in the entire economy (excluding sole proprietorships) grew by 20.5 percent in the reporting period. The growth rates were 19.2 percent in the public sector and 21.8 percent in the private sector.
Lietuvos Zinios

Sanitas plans new acquisitions
Lithuanian pharmaceutical producer Sanitas, which is owned by local and foreign investors, may issue new shares in 2008 to raise capital for a new acquisition. Sanitas CEO Saulius Jurgelenas did not name potential acquisition targets, but said that, depending on the size of the purchase, new shares could be placed in Lithuania or Poland.
Last year Sanitas raised LTL 261 million through a new share issue to finance its acquisition of the Polish pharmaceutical plant Jelfa worth more than LTL 550 million in total. The new shares were bought by Invalda together with associated persons and the equity funds Citigroup Venture Capital International and Amber Trust II.
Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 26th of February

Vilniaus Baldai posts loss
Vilniaus Baldai, furniture manufacturer, posted a net loss of LTL 298,000 in January, compared with a net profit of LTL 203,000 in the same period a year ago. The Vilnius-based company posted losses of LTL 4 million for the full year 2006, but hopes to return to profit in the second quarter of this year. It is projecting an annual net profit of LTL 0.5 million this year, with revenue expected to rise to LTL 139.5 million, up 26.5 percent from LTL 110.3 million the previous year.
Lietuvos Zinios

Industrial output up by 0.1 percent
Lithuanian industrial output and sales edged up by 0.1 percent in January compared with the year-earlier figure. The output in the mining and quarrying sector and the manufacturing sector went up by 3.2 percent, year-on-year. Excluding the petroleum products, the output soared by 20.4 percent in the reporting period. The output of energy products declined by 30.2 percent in January 2007, year-on-year.
Verslo Zinios

Assets of investment funds double
Aggregate assets of Lithuanian-based collective investment undertakings reached LTL 832 million at the end of last year, 2.3 times higher than a year earlier. The assets soared by 41 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the previous quarter.
As of late December, the largest share of the assets was invested in the Lithuanian and Russian securities markets, LTL 416 million in total. The Luxembourgian and Estonian markets had also attracted significant shares of investment, LTL 64.4 million and LTL 35.3 million, respectively.
The total number of investors participating in collective investment undertakings more than doubled last year to reach 19,700. The increase was 20 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter. The Securities Commission expects that this year the number of participants will rise by 10 to 20 percent on a quarterly basis.
Lietuvos Zinios

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