||Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-
Saturday, 17th of March
March CPI seen up 0.7 percent
The Lithuanian Statistics Department forecasts that consumer prices in the country have risen by 0.7 percent in March from February. If the forecast is correct, that will be the highest monthly inflation rate since April 2006, when the consumer price index went up by 0.7 percent.
"We took into account the increased excise duty on tobacco, a rise in gasoline prices at the start of the month and a slight rise in foodstuff prices," said Bronislava Kaminskiene, head of the department's Econometric Research Unit.
Apranga to open upmarket store in Vilnius
Apranga, the leading clothing retailer in the Baltics, intends to invest LTL 10 million to LTL 15 million in an upmarket department store in the centre of Vilnius, which it expects to open next September. The company said its new concept store would be located in the building of the Grand Duke Palace shopping centre, which is being closed down due to losses.
Apranga CEO Rimantas Perveneckas said the new store in Gedimino Avenue could raise Apranga's 2007 sales by approximately LTL 10 million. He added that the project was in line with the company's strategy of opening stores in premium locations.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas
Brussels gives good marks to Lithuania's EU aid distribution strategy
The European Commission has given good marks to Lithuania's strategy for distribution of over LTL 23 billion in EU aid funds in the years 2007 to 2013. Lithuania was among the first EU member states to submit to the European Commission documents based on which the EU aid will be distributed. It also opened formal negotiations with the EU executive body on aid distribution on Thursday, one of the first EU countries to do so. Lithuania expects to complete the negotiations with the European Commission in May.
Friday, 16th of March
Emigrant workers remit some LTL 1.2 billion back home per year
The remittances to Lithuania from emigrant workers reach some LTL 1.2 billion in legal funds per year, Finance Minister Zigmantas Balcytis has stated.
"Legal funds are coming to our economy, they could be envisaged, accounted, and they are included into certain our indexes. The flow has already grown to some LTL 1.2 billion, from approximately LTL 150 million a couple of years ago," Balcytis said.
The flow of legal funds had increased as a result of Lithuania's decision to avoid double taxation of income back in 2005, he added. In Lithuania, the funds remitted by emigrant workers were invested, mostly in real estate.
According to the data made available by the Department of Statistics last July, approximately 404,000 Lithuania's nationals emigrated from Lithuania from 1990, unofficial migration included.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
E.ON to sell shares in Mazeikiu Nafta
Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas, which holds a 0.15 percent stake in Mazeikiu Nafta, has decided to accept a buyout offer worth around LTL 10.63 million from the Lithuanian refinery's majority shareholder, Poland's PKN Orlen.
"We will sell the shares in line with the established procedure. There is a decision in principle (to sell the shares)," said E.ON Ruhrgas' representative in Lithuania, Saulius Bilys.
Power bridge between Lithuania and Sweden to cover wind power parks
Lithuania and Sweden will build new wind turbines as part of arrangements to connect the power systems of the two countries.
"The project on the laying of power cable from Lithuania to Sweden will also include, and we have got respective proposals, the building of additional wind turbines in Sweden and in Lithuania, this will be a part of the project," Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said.
Lithuania would shortly work out a plan of measures to boost the share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of total national energy consumption. Lithuania currently stood somewhere in the middle of EU members ranking in terms of renewables usage, Kirkilas said. The building of new nuclear power plant would be one of the main measures to be implemented in this area.
Swedlink, the project on interconnection of Lithuania's and Sweden's power grids, will be implemented by Lietuvos Energija, the power utility, and Svenska Kraftnat.
Thursday, 15th of March
Spekas ir Ko seeks stronger foothold in Kazakhstan
Spekas ir Ko, a representative of Italian furniture and kitchen equipment manufacturers, expects to strengthen its position in the Kazakh market this year after achieving sales of over a million litas during three quarters of 2006.
"We differ from other suppliers in the market in that we offer complex solutions: projects for equipment of residential and public premises, as well as advice on interior equipment," Spekas Director Fulvio Cancelli said.
There is an increasing demand for such services in Lithuania as well, but individual orders are smaller than those in Kazakhstan, he said.
Spekas ir Ko has also had individual orders from Latvia, Estonia and Russia.
The company boosted its sales in Lithuania last year, from LTL 8.2 million to LTL 14 million.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Sales of Neo Group some 13 percent below target
Neo Group, the PET resin producer based in Klaipeda, posted LTL 611 million in sales for the first year of operations, some 13 percent below the target. Moreover, the company invested LTL 1 million in environmental protection measures. The plant, which is projecting the sales of LTL 1.1 billion for this year, launched production in January 2006.
The company markets approximately a half of output in Lithuania, with the remaining part being sold to large-scale global soft drinks and food producers.
Poland's Pizza Dominium plans expansion into Lithuania
One of the biggest Polish pizza chains, Pizza Dominium, intends to enter the Lithuanian market in 2008. Next year the chain also plans to open 15 new pizza restaurants in Ukraine and to expand into Romania.
Reportedly, Pizza Hut is set to open is first Lithuanian pizzeria in Kaunas in April.
The biggest pizza chain in Lithuania is Cili Pica, which is owned by Cilija, a company controlled by Lithuanian entrepreneur Tadas Karosas.
Wednesday, 14th of March
Unemployment level down to 5.6 percent over 2006
The unemployment level in Lithuania declined by 2.7 percentage points over 2006, to reach the average of 5.6 percent. In the fourth quarter alone, the average unemployment level totalled 4.8 percent and was the lowest among the Baltic countries. The employment level grew to 63.6 percent over the year, from 62.6 percent in 2005. The country's employed population grew to 1.499 million persons in 2006, 1.7 percent more than a year ago. The number of unemployed declined by one third, to 89,300, while the labour force edged up by 1.2 percent over the year, to reach 1.588 million. The level of labour force activity, however, shrank to 67.4 percent, from 68.3 percent a year earlier. According to the latest survey, the number of unemployed aged 15-24 declined to 13,700 in 2006, from 20,700 a year ago, while the number of unemployed in the age group of 55-64 was 11,500 in the reporting period. Female unemployment totalled 5.4 percent, while the respective rates among the males and the youth were 5.8 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Standard & Poor's leaves Lithuanian ratings unchanged
Standard & Poor's affirmed its A long-term and A-1 short-term sovereign credit ratings on Lithuania with a stable outlook. The ratings on Lithuania are supported by low public debt and the country's strong economic growth potential. However, it noted that macroeconomic imbalances had built up in the economy, demonstrated by rising inflation and a widening current account deficit, as a result of strong domestic demand growth, underpinned by a surge in disposable income and fast credit expansion. Many economic indicators that pointed to overheating in Lithuania, such as house price increases, retail sales, and credit growth, began to slow during the second half of 2006, nudging the Lithuanian economy toward less unbalanced growth without major disruptions. If the economy does not cool sufficiently in the next few months and the government fails to tighten its fiscal stance further in response, the ratings on Lithuania could come under downward pressure.
SEB Vilniaus Bankas leaves GDP growth projections unchanged
The analysts of SEB Vilniaus Bankas have left the earlier forecasts of the rise in GDP unchanged while projecting that a slowdown of national economic development will be gradual. Moreover, the experts of the bank have rejected any possibilities that the national currency of Lithuania or Latvia might be devalued until the adoption of euro.
SEB Vilniaus Bankas projects that Lithuania's GDP will rise by 7 percent in 2007 and by further 6.5 percent in 2008.
The analysts have also left the inflation projections unchanged - the average annual inflation is expected to hit 4 percent in 2007 and move down to 3 percent in 2008. However, the current account deficit/GDP projection has been raised to 10 percent, from 8.5 percent, for 2007 and to 8 percent, from 7 percent, for 2008.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Verslo Zinios
Tuesday, 13th of March
SEB Vilniaus Bankas to pay no dividend for 2006
SEB Vilniaus Bankas, the largest bank in Lithuania by assets and the most profitable one in 2006, said it would continue its policy of paying no dividend to shareholders. In line with SEB's dividend policy, the bank's shareholders decided on Friday to retain all of last year's profits for investment. The bank posted LTL 285.533 million in audited net profits for 2006, 2.7 times more than in the previous year.
Lithuanian exports grow
Lithuanian exports grew by 14.3 percent, year-on-year, to reach LTL 3.119 billion in January, while imports rose by 22.5 percent to LTL 4.232 billion. The country's foreign trade deficit surged by 53.6 percent year-on-year to LTL 1.113 billion, according to preliminary data based on customs declarations and Intrastat reports.
In January the country's biggest export partner was Germany, accounting for 12.6 percent of monthly exports, followed by Russia with 12.4 percent, Latvia with 12.2 percent and Poland with 7 percent.
The import rankings was topped by Russia with 19.8 percent of the total imports, followed by Germany with 13.9 percent, Poland with 9.8 percent and Latvia with 5.2 percent.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios
Mall Saules Miestas to be opened in March
Shopping an entertainment complex Saules Miestas will be opened on March 14 in Siauliai. The biggest mall in the North Lithuania will cover the area of 50,000 m2. Investments in the complex amount to LTL 80 million. The construction of the object started in September 2005.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas
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