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Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 39.2007

Saturday, 29th of September

New factory in Kaunas
Norwegian electronics company Kitron, which is 40 percent owned by the Lithuanian investment company Hermis Capital, is in talks with property developers and financial institutions over a project to invest in a new factory in Kaunas. The factory, which is planned to have a floor space of 12,000 square meters, is expected to be completed in mid-2009, Kitron said in a statement on Friday. The new production facility is expected to generate revenue of more than EUR 64.5 million annually, it said. Kitron CEO Jorgen Bredesen said that the new factory would significantly contribute to increasing the company's capacity and help raise its share of the markets in which it operates.
"Our present factory in Kaunas is running well and is recognized for quality. Its profitability is good. When the new factory opens, we will further increase our competitiveness," he said.
Kauno Diena

Agreement on joint work to implement new pipeline
Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia plan to sign in Vilnius next month an agreement on joint work to implement an Odessa-Brody-Plock-Gdansk oil pipeline project that would provide an alternative to Russian oil supplies. The countries expect to sign the agreement during the Vilnius Energy Security Conference on October 10-11.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuanian central government sector deficit reaches LTL 291.9 million
Lithuania's central government sector deficit reached LTL 291.9 million in the first eight months of this year, accounting for 0.3 percent of GDP, the Finance Ministry reported on Friday. The sector's revenues for January through August totaled LTL 17968.4 million. Expenditures amounted to LTL 16747.5 million, and transactions in non-financial assets to LTL 1512.8 million, it said. The central government sector covers the state budget, social security funds and extra-budgetary funds, as well as the State Property Fund and the Property Bank. The extra-budgetary funds include the Privatization Fund, the Guarantee Fund, the Reserve (Stabilization) Fund, the Ignalina Nuclear Power Station Decommissioning Fund, the 1990 Blockade Fund and the Savings Restitution Account.

Friday, 28th of September

BIG wishes to expand in Lithuania
Estonian consumer loan bank Balti Investeeringute Grupi Pank (BIG), which entered the Lithuanian market in August, in the future aims to expand its network to all of the country's major cities and towns. The bank, which operates in Lithuania under the brand name of Bigbank, said on Thursday that it would take concrete decisions on expansion within six months after the launch of operations. Maksim Melamed, the head of BIG's Lithuanian operations, said that the bank saw a high market potential in Lithuania, the largest of the three Baltic States. "Our loan portfolio currently amounts to EUR 100 million, of which loans in Latvia account for around 30 percent. We believe that Lithuania's share of loans should be at least as high and, in the future, the highest in the Baltic countries," he said.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Lithuanians travel abroad a lot
Lithuanian residents spent a total of LTL 1.504 billion while traveling to foreign countries during the first half of this year, 27 percent more than in the same period a year ago, the Statistics Department reported on Thursday. Year-on-year, spending on holidays and leisure increased by 37.2 percent to LTL 977.5 million, while spending on business trips rose by 11.6 percent to LTL 526.7 million. Fifty-four percent of those who traveled abroad stayed with their relatives and friends or at private homes, and 40 percent stayed at hotels and motels. Spending by Lithuanian residents on travel within the country increased by 47.4 percent in the first half from a year earlier to LTL 158.3 million. Spending on holidays and leisure declined by 19.7 percent to LTL 127.1 million, while spending on business trips soared by 80.2 percent to LTL 31.2 million.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuania's consumer confidence index falls
Lithuania's consumer confidence index fell to 1 point in September from 5 points in August, the Statistics Department reported on Thursday. Month-on-month, consumer confidence in cities and towns declined by 3 percentage points to 3, while confidence in rural areas weakened by 5 points to -2 points. The report showed a decline in expectations, both among urban and rural residents, about the country's economic outlook and the situation in the labor market. Year-on-year, the consumer confidence indicator dropped by 1 percentage point, brought down by lower expectations about economic growth and the labor market, the Statistics Department said.

Thursday, 27th of September

Dvarcioniu Keramika might go to other hands
Poland's leading ceramic tile manufacturer Cersanit is likely to take over control of Lithuania's Dvarcioniu Keramika (Dvarcionys Ceramics) from Opoczno, another Polish tile producer. Opoczno has reported to the Warsaw Stock Exchange that it is calling a shareholder meeting on October 19 to discuss selling its 60.25 percent stake in Dvarcioniu Keramika to its largest shareholder, Cersanit. The value of the planned deal is not disclosed. After the transaction is completed, the new shareholder of Dvarcioniu Keramika will have to make a tender offer to buy the remaining shares in the Lithuanian company.

Mobile Credit Baltic numbers
Mobile Credit Baltic (MCB), a company providing short-term loans under the brand name of Credit24, said it has secured a 10-million-euro credit facility from Latvia's Rietumu Banka. MCB provides immediate, short-term loans to borrowers in the Baltic countries and Finland. In Lithuania, it issues loans up to LTL 1,500 to private individuals. MCB is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) for fast-growing companies.
Verslo Zinios

Financial Minister talks about Mazeikiu Nafta
With Lithuania's only crude refinery, Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), operating below capacity, the state forecasts to have lost tens of millions of litas in profit tax revenue this year. Speaking at the parliament's Finance and Budget Committee on Wednesday, Finance Ministry Rimantas Sadzius did not provide exact figures as to the lost revenue but said that "it will be several tens of millions of litas." The minister did not elaborate but officials at the Finance Ministry said that the ministry has reduced its projection for this year's profit tax payments from Mazeikiu Nafta, which has been operating at reduced capacity since a major fire last October and ended the first half of this year in the red.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 26th of September

Lithuanian beer in Tesco
Lithuania's largest brewery Svyturys-Utenos Alus, which is owned by the Nordic group Baltic Beverages Holding, has begun to supply its beer to 350 Tesco supermarkets across the United Kingdom. "Sales in the Tesco chain will enable us to increase exports considerably and to expand Svyturys' consumer base," Svyturys-Utenos Alus CEO Rolandas Virsilas said in a statement on Tuesday. This year the company has boosted exports to Britain by around 60 percent and exports to Ireland by 40 percent. It has supplied nearly a million litres of products to the two countries since the beginning of the year. Svyturys-Utenos Alus currently exports Svyturys beer to 18 countries. The brewery's total beer exports reached 6.64 million litres last year, with sales to Western countries soaring by 40 percent to 2.1 million litres.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Vilkyskiu Pienine sells shares
Shareholders of Vilkyskiu Pienine (Vilkyskiai Dairy), one of the most technologically advanced cheese producers in Lithuania, have agreed to sell 11.72 percent of shares in the company to foreign institutional investors through block trades this week.
In addition, at least five percent of shares will be offered for sale via auction on the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) in the near future, Vilkyskiu Pienine said in a statement on Tuesday. The shares will be sold by Vilkyskiu Pienine CEO Gintaras Bertasius, who currently owns 64.37 percent of the company, and his children, Martynas Bertasius and Gabriele Bertasiute, who hold almost 10 percent of shares each. Karolis Rukas, the head of corporate finance at Orion Securities, the financial brokerage company that handles the sale, said that part of the trades were executed on Tuesday, but formally the shares have not changed owners yet.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Warnings in the internet
Announcements encouraging not to buy Lithuanian dairy products for all of this week appeared on the Internet on Monday. Later the announcements started circulating via e-mail. The purpose of the boycott of Lithuanian dairy products is to limit their purchase and consumption as much as possible. This would allegedly force dairy companies to lower prices to avoid extensive losses. "Dear people of Lithuania, if we stand together dairy companies will feel the results of our unity as early as the middle of the week," the anonymous advertisement suggests. Authors of the campaign also invite to boycott other Lithuanian food products such as meat and bread.
Kauno Diena, Respublika

Tuesday, 25th of September

KPMG Baltics will value the shares of energy companies in Lithuania
Lithuania has chosen the international business consultancy KPMG Baltics to value the shares in the country's three largest energy companies and selected the London office of the international investment bank HSBC to advise the government in negotiations with NDX Energija, the owner of the distribution grid operator VST. A commission headed by Economy Ministry Undersecretary Gediminas Rainys on Monday named these companies as the winners of a public tender. Rainys said that the government expects to sign agreements with the winners in the coming days. KPMG Baltics is to complete the valuation of the shares in the power transmission company Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy) and the two power grid operators, Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) and VST, by October 26, Rainys said.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

European commissioner warns
Dalia Grybauskaite, the European commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget, has praised Lithuania for its efforts to absorb as much EU support funds as it can, but urged her native country to make maximum use of the funding opportunities. While, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas has expressed certitude that Lithuania was doing well in the use of European Union's (EU) financial assistance and did not plan any changes in the scheme. "(The use) has already been accelerated twice. We will manage everything in time," Kirkilas told journalists on Monday.
Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Vilnius Furniture posts net profit
Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture), one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, posted a net profit of LTL 2.952 million for the first eight months of this year. The furniture manufacturer in mid-August revised its full-year net profit forecast to LTL 3.5 million from LTL 0.5 million and raised its annual sales goal to LTL 158 million from LTL 139.5 million. It posted losses of LTL 5.32 million on.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Monday, 24h of September

Ekomediena forecasts its numbers
The provider of wood Ekomediena forecasts that it will have LTL 15 million turnover at the end of the year. The turnover would be by LTL 5 million bigger than last year. Ricardas Kveksas, CEO of Ekomediena, says that the company plans to develop and due to that it intends to increase its turnover. The company began its activity in 2002 in Klaipeda, currently it produces approximately from 8,000 to 12,000 cubic metres of wood for Lithuanian market each month.
Verslo Zinios

German insurance company will insure Lithuanian yield
The German insurance company Vereinigte Hagel intends to offer insurance services for agricultural crops in Lithuania this November. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the German company plans to insure crops from winter colds, showers, avalanche or drought. Gediminas Radzevicius, secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, claimed that the final decision about the German insurance company and its activity in Lithuania would be made on October 31. Vereinigte Hagel has established its subsidiary in Kaunas.
Lietuvos Zinios

PKN Orlen and LOTOS might unite
According to the Polish press, the two biggest oil companies decided to unite. One of them is Grupa Lotos, while the other one is PKN Orlen, which controls Lithuanian refinery Mazeikiu Nafta. The incorporation of two refineries might begin this year and end in 10-11 months. Meanwhile, PKN Orlen is looking for new oilfields in the Caspian Sea region.

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