||Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-
Saturday, 31st of March
The number of vacancies stood at 19,500
The number of vacancies for paid employment reached 19,500 in Lithuania last year, 2.5 times more than the previous year. The department attributed the increase to the country's economic growth and continuing emigration.
The largest number of job vacancies, 7,300, was for craft and related trades workers, while the lowest demand, just 0.5 percent of the total number of vacancies, was for skilled agricultural and fishery workers.
Alytaus Teksitile to be sold
The state's majority stake in Lithuania's nearly bankrupt textile manufacturer Alytaus Tekstile will be offered for sale on the stock exchange at a starting price of LTL 358,300, or LTL 0.01 per share.
The Lithuanian Privatization Commission approved a program for the sale of the state's 69.56 percent stake in Alytaus Tekstile on Friday. The sale of the shares on the Vilnius Stock Exchange will begin on May 2 and close on June 15. The shares will be sold as a block.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika
Friday, 30th of March
Kalnapilis-Tauras Group raises sales
Kalnapilis-Tauras Group, the second largest Lithuania's beer producer, raised the sales of beer and soft drinks, including exports, by 16.4 percent, to LTL 165.1 million last year, from LTL 141.8 million in 2005. Volume sales grew by 14.8 percent, year-on-year, to 76.2 million litres in 2006.
Consumer confidence hits record high in March
The consumer confidence index in Lithuania has hit the highest level in March since records began in May 2001. The index rose by 1 point versus February, to reach 9 points this month. The confidence index in urban territories increased by 2 points over the month, to reach 12 points, while the confidence in rural areas shrank by 1 point, to 2 points, in the reporting period. The rise in confidence resulted on an improved assessment of household financial outlook and the outlook for savings in the upcoming 12-month period.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Central government debt amounts to LTL 86.6 million
Lithuania's central government debt grew by LTL 86.6 million in February from January to LTL 14.32 billion and accounted for 1.6 percent of this year's projected GDP. Month-on-month, domestic debt increased by LTL 142.7 million to LTL 4.2 billion, while foreign debt decreased by LTL 56.1 million to LTL 10.12 billion. Verslo Zinios
Thursday, 29th of March
Dairy mulls investment program
Vilkyskiu Pienine, one of the most technologically advanced cheese producers in Lithuania, considers launching an investment program of up to LTL 60 million and intends to seek financing from EU funds for its projects.
"Applications have not yet been invited, but we plan to apply for EU financial aid in the 2007-2013 period for our projects and to invest LTL 40 million to LTL 60 million in the company," Vilkyskiu Pienine CEO Gintaras Bertasius said.
"We plan that these investments will be used to modernize the enterprise and enhance its competitiveness," he said, adding that the company currently has sufficient production capacities and does not intend to invest in production expansion.
Bertasius said that the dairy producer is changing its strategy and shifting its focus on producing "niche products" with a higher value-added. He says that it could be a program of three to five years.
Poland unhappy with private capital participation in N-plant project
The Lithuanian foreign minister has said that Poland is concerned about a possible lack of transparency in the way Lithuania intends to operate a new nuclear power plant, but the Lithuanian economy minister has dismissed such worries as groundless.
"Poland voices concern about possibly non-transparent participation of Lithuanian private capital (in the project) and possible non-compliance with the European integration criteria," Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas said on Wednesday.
Vaitiekunas said that Pavel Zalewski, chairman of the Polish parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, conveyed his concern to him on Tuesday. Poland wants guarantees that private investors will not sell their shares in the plant to other parties in the future, the Lithuanian minister added.
Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said that these doubts could be due to a lack of information.
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said that the government has decided to inform its future partners in the project - Poland, Latvia and Estonia - of its specific plans after the parliament passes a law on the future nuclear power facility.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Fur producer boosts sales
Vilniaus Kailiai, leather and fur clothes producer, posted LTL 9.96 million in sales for full 2006, a surge of 30.1 percent versus the year-earlier figure. The sales of retail chain of the company soared by 65 percent, to LTL 5.36 million, in the reporting period.
"The operating costs were cut by half. We focused on the production of most popular products last season and made no stocks of raw materials. Moreover, we have sold bad sellers off and streamlined logistic processes," Neila Sveikauskaite, Vilniaus Kailiai marketing manager, said.
Wednesday, 28th of March
Hanner to establish subsidiary in Russia
Property developer Hanner is set to establish a subsidiary company in Russia under the name of Hanner SPB Development. Hanner will be the sole shareholder of the new company, which will have an authorized share capital of RUB 10,000. Hanners lawyer, Evaldas Klimas, said that the new subsidiary would be based in St. Petersburg and that they expected to complete the incorporation procedures within the next couple of weeks.
Hanner currently has eight subsidiary companies in Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Ukraine. It also holds stakes of more than 10 percent in 15 companies.
The property developer posted a pretax profit of LTL 94 million last year, up 59 percent from LTL 59 million the previous year. Revenue rose by 1 percent, to LTL 155 million from LTL 154 million.
MG Baltic buys magazine publishing company
MG Baltic, the leading Lithuania's conglomerate active in production, trade, real estate and media businesses, aims to acquire the majority holding in magazine publishing company UPG Baltic as it seeks to strengthen up in the media industry.
MG Baltic will run 50 percent plus one share in UPG Baltic after the finalizing of transaction, which needs the approval of Competition Council.
With the transaction completed, MG Baltic will take over the magazine publishing business of Indiza, which is controlled by UPG Baltic. Indiza publishes and distributes some 30 magazine titles, including men's magazines, IT and video games publications, crossword puzzle books, children's magazines and comics.
In 2006 the sales of Indiza exceeded LTL 10 million.
Orion Securities recommends buying shares in Pieno Zvaigzdes
Analysts of Orion Securities has raised its target price for shares in Lithuania's largest dairy producer, Pieno Zvaigzdes, by more than one-tenth and upgraded its recommendation for the stock from Hold to Buy. Orion Securities said in a report that it had increased its target price for Pieno Zvaigzdes from LTL 5.20 to LTL 5.90 per share.
Analysts currently see many positive drivers in the Lithuanian dairy sector: strong export growth as well as sustainable dividend yield of 4 percent-5 percent.
The company is projecting revenue of LTL 594 million for 2007.
Tuesday, 27th of March
Ragutis works profitably
Finnish-controlled Lithuanian brewery Ragutis reported a net profit of LTL 2.6 million for 2006, compared with a loss of LTL 6.1 million in 2005. The company's full-year revenue increased by 18.1 percent to LTL 68.4 million, as beverage sales jumped by 16.3 percent to 42.25 million litres.
"We paid much attention to the cider and light alcoholic mix market and launched more than one new product. This year we will continue to pursue this strategy, but will not forget beer drinkers," Ragutis CEO Vytautas Meistas said.
The company holds the number-one position in the Lithuanian cider market with a market share of over 40 percent, is number two in the alcopops market with 22 percent and number three in the beer market with 11 percent.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Oro Navigacija to buy radar systems
Lithuania's air navigation service provider Oro Navigacija has signed a contract to purchase a surface movement radar system from Spain's Indra Sistemas. The system will enable traffic controllers at Vilnius Airport to observe the airport's runway, taxiways and parking areas on their video screens. Oro Navigacija said the value of the project was LTL 4.4 million. It said the airport needed this system because its emerging new terminal would hinder observation of the remote zone of the runway. Lietuvos Rytas
Lithuania may have to return some EU support
Lithuania might have to return some unused EU support in spring 2008 if the absorption of assistance gets no better this year, Dalia Grybauskaite, the EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, has warned.
"Unfortunately, the news is not very good. The trends of [support] absorption in Lithuania are getting worse, the absorption is slowing down. In 2004 Lithuania was one of the leaders, in 2005 it was somewhere in the middle, and in 2006 it was among the last ones. Environmental protection, encouragement of business employment, knowledge economy and other areas closely linked with investments in people, education and science need additional efforts," Grybauskaite said.
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas admitted that the absorption of support was getting worse owing to bureaucratic practices. Prime Minister pledged to appoint a governmental coordinator for additional monitoring of measures being implemented in the areas of biggest concern.
In 2007-2013 the EU assistance to Lithuania would reach some LTL 23 billion or, with rural support included, approximately LTL 36 billion.
Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios
Monday, 26th of March
Vilniaus Baldai posts losses
Furniture manufacturer Vilniaus Baldai turned a net profit of LTL 146,100 in February, but the financial result for the first two months of this year was a net loss of LTL 136,500. Vilniaus Baldai's sales for February jumped by 16.2 percent year-on-year to LTL 21.1 million.
"Our hard work has finally produced a clear result. In view of the continuing improvement of labour efficiency and rising sales volumes, we expect to end the first quarter of this year without losses," Vilniaus Baldai CEO Nerijus Pacevicius said.
The furniture manufacturer is projecting an annual turnover of LTL 140 million and net profit of LTL 1.5 million this year.
VST to offer dividends
VST, the private equity operator of power distribution grids in the western part of Lithuania, aims to pay LTL 16 dividend per share. The amount to be paid out in dividends will total LTL 59.488 million, which is almost equal to last year's profit of the company. For 2006 VST reported LTL 59.677 million in audited net profit.
Logo of Aviakompanija Lietuva does not interest buyers
Indebted airline Aviakompanija Lietuva, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, has previously announced about the sale of its brand but has not received any official proposals yet. A repeated sale of the brand will be announced. The brand pictures a flying crane and words Air Lithuania. The company had LTL 23 million debts last March.
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