|Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-
Saturday, 6th of October
FlyLAL plans for future
Lithuanian-owned aviation group flyLAL Group confirmed on Friday that it would bid to buy the state's 53 percent stake in the Latvian air carrier Airbaltic when the neighboring country's government decides to put the shares up for sale. "We have an excellent experience in the privatization of airlines, as well as a well-developed infrastructure and financial capabilities. Therefore, it is our aim to create, in the future, a common, strong Baltic aviation sector that would provide top quality services," flyLAL Group CEO Linas Dovydenas said in a statement. As part of its expansion plans, flyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines is set to enter the Latvian market by launching charter flights from Riga this month, the group said. flyLAL Group stated its intentions to buy the state-owned stake in Airbaltic in a letter to Latvian Transport Minister Ainars Slesers earlier this week. flyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines has significantly improved its financial performance after it was sold into private hands, the group told the Latvian minister.
Vilniaus Baldai posts sales
Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture), one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, posted sales of LTL 114.183 million for the first nine months of this year. The company's net profit for the first eight months of this year soared to LTL 2.952 million, from LTL 414,000 a year ago. As of June 30, the Lithuanian investment company Invalda held a 69.6 percent stake in Vilniaus Baldai, which is listed on the blue-chip Main List of the VSE.
Poland dissatisfied about new nuclear power plant
Polish Economy Minister Piotr Wozniak pledged that Poland would procrastinate the building of an electricity bridge from Lithuania to Poland if it does not receive a third of electricity generated by the projected new nuclear power plant in Ignalina. During the stay in Vilnius on Friday, Wozniak said that Poland's failure to receive 1,200 megawatts of electricity generated in the future new nuclear power station in Lithuania would possibly result in delay in all other joint energy projects. The Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza said that Latvia and Estonia were originally against Poland's participation in the construction of the power plant. "It was Lithuania that persuaded Latvia and Estonia to include the Poles in the project," said the daily.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas
Friday, 5th of October
Rail Baltica invites Russia
Lithuania and its partners in Rail Baltica, a high-speed, European-gauge rail link from Finland to Poland, will seek to bring Russia into the project, with the help of the European Union, officials said on Thursday. The European Commission vice-president in charge of transport, Jacques Barrot, said at a news conference in Vilnius that he would raise this issue when he meets Russian Transport Minister during his visit to Russia in November. The EU commissioner said that Rail Baltica, the EU priority project, would facilitate the movement of goods between the EU and Russia. Lithuanian Transport Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said that talks are currently underway on the first stage of Rail Baltica, but added that Russia could join the second stage of the project.
Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena
Parex Bankas launches American Express cards
Lithuania's Parex Bankas, which is part of the Baltic financial group Parex, and the global travel, financial and network services company American Express on Thursday announced the launch of litas-denominated American Express cards in Lithuania. Parex Bankas has the exclusive right to issue and service American Express-branded cards in Lithuania, under a partnership agreement signed in the autumn of 2006. This is a credit and travel card designed for people with active lifestyles. American Express is one of the world's best-known brands with more than 150 years experience of offering premium services and innovative products.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Pieno Zvaigzdes denies media reports
Lithuanian dairy producer Pieno Zvaigzdes has denied media reports that it intends to buy Latvia's second-biggest dairy company, Valmieras Piens. Pieno Zvaigzdes said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) on Thursday that it "was not and is not" in talks to acquire the Latvian company. The Latvian media has reported that Pieno Zvaigzdes held talks on the possible acquisition of Valmieras Piens.
Thursday, 4th of October
Snoras aims to open its representative in Shanghai
Lithuania's commercial bank Snoras aims to set up a representative office in Shanghai often referred to as the third largest global finance centre. Snoras will be the first Lithuanian financial institution to establish an office in China. The new office would be the seventh representative body of the bank abroad, Snoras said in a statement. The Snoras' board ruled on the setting up of new representative office on Tuesday. Initially the new office will employ a workforce of three. In 2006 Lithuania's exports to China made up USD 18.7 million accounting for 0.13 percent of overall exports figure. Imports from China totalled USD 464.2 million or 2.4 percent of total imports. The key import and export commodities included base metals, machines and mechanical appliances, textiles and plastics.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas
German company establishes in Lithuania
German heat and water measuring equipment manufacturer Hydrometer considers relocating part of its production to Lithuania, a local company said on Wednesday.
Hydrometer plans to subcontract some of its orders to the Lithuanian industrial and energy project company Axis Industries, the latter said in a statement. Axis Industry is to supply a million litas worth of heat measuring equipment to the German company by the end of this year, double the amount it supplied last year. The equipment is sold under the Hydrometer brand name.
Lietuvos Elektrine invited companies for a new bid
Lithuania's state-controlled Lietuvos Elektrine (Lithuanian Power Plant, or LPP) has invited international bids to design and build a new combined cycle gas turbine plant (CCGT) with a capacity of 350 to 450 megawatts (MW), the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday. The project, worth an estimated LTL 720 million, is part of ongoing upgrades at the LPP, which will become the main generator of electricity in Lithuania after the shutdown of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in 2009. The CCGT project will be financed from the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund, which is administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other resources, the ministry said. The new plant will produce electricity at around half the cost of power generated by the existing units of the LPP.
Wednesday, 3rd of October
New stadium in Vilnius
The city of Vilnius signed on Tuesday a contract with Veikme, a Lithuanian building company, for the construction of a national stadium and a sports complex in the capital's Seskine district. An engineering design plan for the stadium, whose construction began almost 20 years ago but was abandoned before it was finished, is to be ready in December, the municipality of Vilnius said. Under the plan, the National Stadium will be a 25,000-seat multi-purpose covered stadium.
Polish stock exchange intends to invite Lithuanian companies to its list
Several Lithuania's companies are making arrangements for listing on Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in neighboring Poland. The Poles are setting up a regional fund center for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which they seek to attract foreign companies, including Lithuanian, too. Meanwhile, Lithuania's experts believe that the stocks on WSE would definitely be listed by Sanitas, the generics producer running business in Poland. Other companies could include alcohol producers and real estate traders. A total of 304 Polish and 17 foreign companies, including several Estonia's businesses, are currently listed on WSE.
The condition of real estate market
The real estate market, which has been rapidly growing during the last years, is slightly getting slower. The experts claim that real estate is overestimated in some of the bigger cities in Lithuania, while the construction workers mention that some projects might be cancelled and not presented to the market at all soon. Gitanas Nauseda, advisor of the president in SEB Vilniaus Bankas, states that it is necessary to analyze the real estate market situation in Europe, after the recent household loan crisis in USA. Robertas Dargis, head of the company Eika, also admits that it is the time to slow down the chaotic development. Vadimas Titarneka, head of Economic Research Department in DnB Nord, states that the prices for real estate have reached the maximum level in Lithuania already.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Respublika
Tuesday, 2nd of October
Cilija opened in Tallinn
Cilija, the operator of the largest pizza chain in Lithuania, opened on Monday its first Cili Pica restaurant in the Estonian capital of Tallinn. Cilija Expansion Director Saulius Grakavinas said the company was planning to open a second Cili restaurant in Estonia in the spring of 2008. The first 315-square-meter, 103-seat Cili Pica restaurant is located at Kristiine Kaubanduskeskus, one of Tallinn's oldest and biggest shopping centres, Cilija said in a statement. The company said it has created 47 new jobs with the opening of the new restaurant in the Estonian capital. Cilija owns pizza restaurants Cili Pica, Lithuanian cuisine restaurants Cili Kaimas, Chinese cuisine restaurants Cili Kinija and cafes Cili Kava. The Cili chain currently comprises 52 restaurants and cafes in Lithuania and 26 restaurants in Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania.
Kauno Diena, Respublika
Zaislu Planeta opened in Latvia
Lithuania's company Voira, the operator of toys retail chain Zaislu Planeta (Toys Planet), opened its first store in Latvia in September and would seek to set up new outlets in the neighboring Baltic country. Moreover, the company has also said it might enter other foreign markets. "We will not leave Latvia's market be. The Rotallietu Planeta store in Riga is just the beginning, and we aim to open further two or three stores in the neighboring country next year. We are also eyeing other markets. However, any discussions would be premature since we have made no particular agreements as yet," Rolandas Rutenas, Voira's CEO, said in a statement. The company singled out numerous similarities between Lithuanian and Latvian markets. However, the Latvians tended to make more attentive choices and preferred well-known brands, Rutenas added.
Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena
Groupe Danone might enter Lithuanian milk market
Lithuanian dairy producers will soon face strong competition for raw milk from the French food giant Groupe Danone, which seeks to register as a milk purchaser in the country. While farmers are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of higher milk prices, producers are worried about a possible shortage of raw milk supplies, it wrote. Irma Pilipiene, chairwoman of the Lithuanian Dairy Producers' Association, predicted that Danone's arrival would increase competition for raw milk and lead to another hike in dairy product prices by the end of the year.
Monday, 1st of October
Debt of central government sector stood at LTL 14.09
The debt of the central government sector stood at LTL 14.09 billion, while the revenues reached LTL 2.347 billion in August, the Ministry of Finances reported on Friday. It was announced that the central government sector's debt decreased by LTL 284.3 million and made 14.8 percent of the projected GDP of this year.
OMX reduced fees
OMX exchanges in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius have reviewed their fee structure and reduced commission fees for their members. Fee on manual trades will be reduced from 0.05 percent to 0.03 percent of the value of the trade while maximum fee per one manual trade will not exceed LTL 500 for every party of the transaction. A bourse broker currently has to pay LTL 5,000 for a transaction worth LTL 20 million but a fee for the same transaction will amount to LTL 500 from the beginning of the next year. The new fees will come into effect on January 1, 2008. Johan Ruden, president of OMX Baltic Market Department, hopes that the smaller payments will increase the activity of the trade in the bourses.
Prices for some vegetables are decreasing
The prices for some vegetables, which are sold by farmers, are decreasing, as the farmers forecast the good harvest this year. The prices for onions went down by 13 percent at the end of September comparing it with the beginning of the month. Unwashed carrots are also cheaper by 7 percent and cost from LTL 570 to LTL 700 per ton. The prices for potatoes remained stable during the entire month: the price for one ton of non-packed potatoes varies from LTL 500 to LTL 700.
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