Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 10.2007

Saturday, 10th of March

Alita to buy Vilkmerges brewery
Lithuania's sparkling wine producer Alita, which is majority owned by its management, is buying Vilkmerges Alus, a brewery in Ukmerge. Alita said that it intended to buy 100 percent of shares in Daivalda, a wholesale trade company that owns Vilkmerges Alus, within the next few months. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
Alita CEO Vytautas Junevicius said the company would use its own money and borrowed funds to finance the acquisition.
Junevicius said that the present operation schemes would not be changed in the nearest future. “The brewery operates stably and no revolutionary changes will take place in it,” he added.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuania and Poland sign fundamental agreement on Rail Baltica project
Lithuania's Transport Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and his Polish counterpart Jerzy Polaczek have signed a memorandum on the border crossing point and border section of Rail Baltica at the Lithuanian-Polish frontier. The railway line would cross the border at Mockava-Trakiszki.
"With this significant document signed, we have agreed to notify the European Commission that the crossing point on the Lithuanian-Polish border has been identified. We could submit a request for additional funding both for the upgrade of railway [infrastructure] on the Polish territory and the construction of trans-European railway line in Lithuania," Butkevicius noted.
Lithuania would announce a contractor tender by July 1 and would seek to complete the technical design stage of the project by December.
"A total of EUR 5.075 billion will be earmarked from the EU funds for the upgrade of road infrastructure in 2007-2013. EU allocations for the upgrade of railways will reach EUR 4.7 billion, purchase of cars and other rail vehicles – EUR 400 million, and Rail Baltica project - approximately EUR 100 million. Together with Polish budget funds these amounts will grow by 30 percent," Polaczek noted.
Lithuania aims to assign LTL 500 million for the implementation of the first stage of Rail Baltica, the trans-European railway line due to connect the Baltic countries, Finland and Poland.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Ukio Bankas plans to pay LTL 0.01 dividend
Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, which posted an audited net profit LTL 47.4 million for 2006, plans to pay out LTL 1.767 million in dividends to shareholders and to increase its share capital by LTL 20 million through a new share issue at a price of no less LTL 1 a share. Ukio Bankas earned a net profit of LTL 19.578 million in 2005. It distributed LTL 1.267 million in dividends last year, paying LTL 0.01 per share. The bank's distributable profits total LTL 54.33 million this year, including LTL 6.947 million in retained profits from previous years. If shareholders give the go-ahead, most of the profits, LTL 35.604 million, will be carried forward to the next financial year. Another LTL 13.167 million will be channelled into general reserves to cover asset losses and LTL 2.370 million into compulsory reserves. Some LTL 1.422 million will be used for bonuses, incentives and other expenses.
Respublika

Friday, 9th of March

Lietuvos Draudimas boosts profits
Lithuania's largest non-life insurance company Lietuvos Draudimas posted a net profit of LTL 36 million for 2006, up from LTL 16.8 million the previous year. Effective risk management, successful investment program and the volume of premiums that grew by almost one-third predetermined the growth. Insurance premiums written rose by 28.9 percent last year to LTL 339 million.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

CPI up by 0.3 percent in February
Consumer prices in Lithuania edged up by 0.3 percent in February from January. The average annual inflation rate was 3.9 percent, and the 12-month inflation rate was 4.3 percent. 0.2 percent monthly inflation was previously forecasted for February. Month-on-month, prices of consumer goods rose by 0.2 percent, while prices of services were up 0.6 percent. February's consumer price index was pushed up by rises of 0.7 percent in food and soft drink prices, 1.2 percent in transport goods and services, 1.7 percent in hotel, cafe and restaurant services and 0.7 percent in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel prices.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Mail and courier market surges 34.4 percent
Lithuania's mail and courier services market, as measured by revenues, surged by 34.4 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 196.1 million in 2006, from LTL 145.9 million last year.
In the fourth quarter alone, the market soared by 36.4 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 59 million. The revenues of mail services providers expanded by 27.4 percent, to LTL 88.81 million last year, from LTL 69.7 million in 2005. In the fourth quarter alone, the revenues soared by 47.5 percent, year-on-year, to reach LTL 28.7 million. The courier services providers boosted full-year revenues by 40.8 percent, to LTL 107.3 million, from LTL 76.2 million a year earlier.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 8th of March

Three restaurant chains enter Lithuanian market
Three restaurant chains - Pizza Hut, KFC and Gan Bei - are entering the Lithuanian market with the opening of restaurants at the Akropolis shopping and entertainment centre in Kaunas. The Akropolis, which is set to open on April 10, will house a restaurant of Pizza Hut, one of the world's largest pizza chain, the first Baltic outlet of the KFC fast-food chain and the first Lithuanian outlet of the Gan Bei eastern cuisine restaurant chain.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Ober-Haus raises sales
Ober-Haus, the leading Baltic real estate agency, posted LTL 14.64 million in consolidated sales for full 2006, a surge of 33 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 11 million. The company carried out almost 13,000 sale and services transactions, up by 30 percent from the 10,000 deals in 2005.
Ober-Haus runs a chain of offices in Lithuania, Poland and Latvia. In 2006 the company entered Ukraine's market.
Lietuvos Zinios

Sanitas boosts sales
Sanitas, which owns pharmaceutical plants in Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia, posted consolidated sales of LTL 49.603 million for the first two months of this year. The group's sales for February alone more than trebled, year-on-year, to LTL 24.743 million. The group is projecting LTL 21.3 million in consolidated net profits this year, on sales of around LTL 340.5 million.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 7th of March

81 percent of Lithuanians do not shop or pay bills online
Some 81 percent of the Lithuanian population do not pay their bills or shop for goods and services via the Internet, a poll of RAIT showed.
According to the poll, the largest percentage of respondents who do not use the Internet for paying their bills or shopping is among people aged 55-74 years, with a primary, basic or secondary education, with a monthly income of up to LTL 300 and living in rural areas.
Some 14 percent of respondents use the Internet to pay their utilities bills and 11 percent pay online for Internet, cable TV and mobile services. These are mostly people aged 25-34 years, living in major cities and towns, with a higher education and a monthly per capita household income of over LTL 900.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Winloto launches online lottery service
Winloto, a Swedish-Lithuanian joint venture, on Tuesday launched ten new online lottery games at www.winloto.lt. This is a second Lithuanian Internet site offering lottery products. Winloto aims to achieve sales of LTL 10 million this year and to attract 150,000 online players within three years. The company plans to offer three traditional "offline" lotteries and to launch lotteries played via mobile phones by the end of this year.
Winloto, which was founded last year, is 51 percent owned by Sweden's state gaming company Svenska Spel. Lotelita, a company associated with the Lithuanian gaming operator Olifeja, holds a 48 percent stake and the Lithuanian Olympic Committee owns the remaining 1 percent.
Lietuvos Rytas

Recognition
The Klaipeda customer service division of Hansabankas, the leading Lithuania's commercial bank, has been hailed as the best customer service unit across the EU by the international financial services company Western Union. The unit of Hansabankas, which is run by Sweden's Swedbank, has come up the first among over 200 units from different EU Member States.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 6th of March

Alytaus Tekstile to borrow LTL 5.2 million to cover wages arrears
Alytaus Tekstile, the debt-laden state-run cotton textiles producer, is borrowing LTL 5.2 million from Snoras bank to cover its wages arrears. The government gave its blessing for taking a loan to pay overdue salaries at a closed meeting on Monday.
Neringa Pazusiene, director of law and personnel department of ministry of economy and Alytaus Tekstile chairwoman, said that company had already agreed preliminary terms with the bank and was currently readying the documents required. The loan would not be guaranteed by the government.
Alytaus Tekstile owes LTL 5.2 million to its employees in unpaid wages accrued from October 2006 till January 2007. The company employs some 1,300 people who held a two-day strike last week as the government decided to auction its stake of almost 70 percent in the loss-making textile manufacturer.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Akropolis to hold opening ceremony during Easter holidays
The opening of Kaunas commercial and entertainment centre Akropolis, which has been rescheduled several times, will take place early in April. The management of the mall has already notified the traders officially that the opening ceremony for special invited guests would be held on April 9, with the general opening scheduled for April 10. Vilniaus Prekyba, the owner of the mall, channelled some LTL 320 million into the project.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Lukoil Baltija raises sales
Lukoil Baltija, the operator of the largest Lithuania's chain of gas stations, said it would channel at least LTL 40 million into the opening of new stations and upgrade of existing ones in Lithuania in 2007. The company's investments soared by 2.9 times in 2006, to LTL 43.65 million. Lukoil Baltija opened two new stations and made essential upgrades to 11 outlets in the country last year. The company posted LTL 1.668 billion in sales for full 2006, a rise of 16.1 percent versus the year-earlier figure. The company operates a chain of 116 gas stations in Lithuania.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 5th of March

Puma opens 1st branded store in Lithuania
Puma, the leading global sportswear and equipment company, has opened a branded store Armitana in Vilnius to mark the entry into the Baltic market. The global company, which is represented by Puma Polska on Lithuania's market, aims to open three more stores in Lithuania within four years. The stores will be set up following the concept “store in a store”.
Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian unemployment unchanged at 3.9 percent
Unemployment in Lithuania totalled 3.9 percent in February, unchanged from the month-earlier. The number of jobseekers registered with the Labour Exchange plunged by 7,700 or 36.7 percent versus December, to reach 13,300. The number of officially registered unemployed people was 82,000 as of March 1, a decrease of 0.9 percent from the month-earlier figure.
Majority of unemployed people were registered in Ignalina, Akmene, Lazdijai regions, while the least of them were in Elektrenai, Trakai and Kretinga regions in February.
Lietuvos Zinios

Apranga has expansion plans
Baltic clothing retailer Apranga, which is controlled by MG Baltic, strives for leader’s positions in Estonia and plans to expand beyond the Baltics. According to Rimantas Perveneckas, the company's CEO, Apranga will attempt to anchor in Estonia’s capital first of all, and later in regions. The company’s expansion is possible in other countries, too.
Apranga projects the expansion by 30 percent on annual basis. Besides, the company plans to boost the sales in foreign market by some 50 percent.
Based on approximate data, last year Apranga held a market share of around 30 percent in Lithuania and was the market leader. In Latvia, the group held a market share of some 15 percent and was also the leader. In Estonia, Apranga has a relatively small number of stores, which makes it difficult to calculate what share of the market it has.
Lietuvos Zinios

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