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 Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 43.2007

Saturday, 27th of October

Agrovaldymo Grupe will distribute shares
Agrovaldymo Grupe, Lithuania's largest agricultural investment company, plans to hold an initial public offering next spring and expects to list its shares on the blue-chip Main List of the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). The new issue should account for around 25 percent of Agrovaldymo Grupe's stock capital, which currently amounts to LTL 20 million, company officials said on Thursday. However, they added that the company would be revalued ahead of the listing. The current book value of Agrovaldymo Grupe's shares is LTL 68 million. Robertas Cepaitis, Agrovaldymo Grupe's expansion director, said that the funds raised through the IPO would be used to finance the company's expansion plans in Lithuania and in other Central and Eastern European countries. "A successful share offering would also allow us to enter the capital markets and offer an alternative to bonds as a means of raising funds for expansion," he said at a news conference.

Alytaus Tekstile bankrupts
Bankruptcy procedures for Lithuania's cotton textiles producer Alytaus Tekstile (Alytus Textile) have been launched eventually. The Court of Appeals appointed Lithuania's company Baklis to administer the bankruptcy of the textiles maker. "First of all we will take care of people plagued by waiting and deprivation," Rimgaudas Jacevicius, an authorized Baklis' representative in charge of bankruptcy procedures, said. The assets of Alytaus Tekstile should be taken over from materially responsible persons in several weeks, he said adding that later the value of assets would be collated with that specified in the company's account books. Dismissal notifications with the amount to be paid to be specified would be issued to 1,090 employees of the textiles maker. The amount would include outstanding wages, severance pay, vacation allowances and payment for broken time. The workers of Alytaus Tekstile will be laid off in 15 days at the latest. Some employees were last paid early in April, others in May or June.

Salaries increased
Currently, the older employees feel discriminated by their employers in Lithuania, as the employers tend to pay bigger salaries for new employees and forget the old timers. The research made by the company Prime People shows that qualified specialists and inexperienced newcomers are paid almost equal wages. Ausra Delonaite, director of Prime People, states that currently, students, who have just finished their studies usually, ask for salaries no less than LTL 1,200, otherwise they do not agree to work. Salaries in Lithuania increased by 20,5 percent during the first half-year of 2007. The analysts forecast that the wages will rise by 9-15 percent more at the end of the year in the country.
Kauno Diena

Friday, 26th of October

Nothing is clear about the gas prices
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas reiterated on Thursday that Gazprom was set to raise the price of natural gas for Lithuania, but said he hoped that the government would be able to convince the Russian gas giant to agree to a smaller hike.
"The so-called gas re-regulation law complicates, or at least does not help, our negotiations (with Gazprom) -- it certainly does not strengthen our position. If (the Russians) demand higher prices -- and to my knowledge they will, we will try to find solutions. We have arguments of our own, but I do not want to speak about them at this point," the Prime Minister said. Kirkilas is to meet in Vilnius on Thursday with members of the management board of Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), including Gazprom's deputy board chairman, Valery Golubev, and deputy CEO for sales, Vladimir Obukhov, as well as Stephan Kamphues, one of the heads of Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas International.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuanian banks’ profit
Lithuanian commercial banks and foreign bank branches posted LTL 811.5 million in aggregate unaudited profit for the first nine months of 2007, a surge of 65 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 493 million. According to the data made available by the Bank of Lithuania, all commercial banks running business in the country ended the nine-month period in the black, except for the Lithuanian unit of Italy's UniCredit and a branch of Estonia's Balti Investeeringute Grupi Pank, both of which launched business in Lithuania earlier this year. The top earners included SEB Vilniaus Bankas with the nine-month profit of LTL 323.1 million, Hansabankas (LTL 225.9 million) and DnB Nord (LTL 80.3 million). However, the combined shares of those banks on the assets and loan markets declined to 68 percent, from 69 percent, and to 71.8 percent, from 74 percent, respectively.
Verslo Zinios

Remembering progressive taxes
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas has promised to soon present the parliament with suggestions as to introduction of progressive tax and seek that a decision is made in deliberating the 2008 budget at the parliament. This news was conveyed to the media by Kirkilas on Thursday. The Prime Minister promises to present the parliament with the relevant amendments to the income tax law in some 20 weeks. In his words, income up to LTL 1000 would be taxed 15 percent, and higher income -- at a higher rate.
Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 25th of October

EU commissioner talks about Lithuanian new nuclear power plant plans
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has made it clear that the lack of details in Lithuania's new nuclear power plant law regarding the planned merger of energy companies saves the country from possible EU actions, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament said on Wednesday. "Until the (European) Commission has a clear understanding of what concrete actions will be taken to merge the companies, it does not make any decisions as to whether or not our actions comply with the EU's directives," Lithuanian MEP Danute Budreikaite said in a letter.
Lietuvos Zinios

Number of passenger increases
A total of 1.7 million passengers went through Lithuania's airports during the first nine months of this year, a rise of 21.4 percent compared with a year earlier, the Statistics Department reported on Wednesday. The largest number of passengers flew to and from the United Kingdom (259,200 passengers or 15.6 percent of the total number), Germany (12.2 percent) and Denmark (10.8 percent), the department. Year-on-year, the number of passengers flying to and from Ireland surged by 51.8 percent. The number of passengers to and from Germany jumped by 24.9 percent, to and from Denmark by 8.4 percent, and to and from the United Kingdom by 5.2 percent.

Lithuanian power plant reports figures
Lietuvos Elektrine (Lithuanian Power Plant), the state-run thermal power plant, reported LTL 56.3 million in unaudited pretax profit for the first nine months of 2007, a surge of 2.1 times from the year-earlier figure of LTL 27.3 million. Last year the plant's audited net profit soared by 45 percent, to LTL 25.007 million, from LTL 17.23 million a year earlier.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 24th of October

Lithuanian beer appreciated in UK
Beer produced by Svyturys-Utenos Alus, the largest Lithuania's brewery controlled by the Nordic group Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), has won the Drinks Award of UK retailer Tesco. The company's beer Baltas raked in the award - the first in the history of Lithuania's beer making - in the wheat beer category. The award was a guarantee that its beer Baltas would appear on the shelves of all Tesco stores, Svyturys-Utenos Alus said. The sales of beer Baltas at Tesco outlets should be launched next spring. A couple of months ago the Lithuanian company kicked off the sales of its Svyturys Extra beer at Tesco stores. Kalnapilis-Tauras Group is the only other Lithuanian beer maker to export its product to UK.

Contemplations on gas prices
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas has said that there is a possibility that electricity prices for consumers will not be raised next year, but experts doubt this, noting that all price components including generation, transmission and other costs, are set to increase in January. "We are negotiating with the companies and are looking for solutions so that to prevent an all-at-once increase in electrical power prices. It is possible that the prices will not be raised at all next year," Kirkilas said in an interview with Lithuanian Radio on Tuesday. However, Virgilijus Poderys, the chairman of the National Commission for Prices and Energy, said that prices were likely to go up. Some experts say that the two power distribution grid operators, RST and VST, have reserves and could operate profitably without raising prices for their distribution services, but other components of the electricity price will undoubtedly go up.
Lietuvos Rytas

Hopes for Poland
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas reiterated on Tuesday that Poland's demands for more than a third of output from the planned new nuclear power plant in Lithuania could be met. "We will form our national investor (company) by the end of the year and will have the main agreements in place next spring after the environmental study has been completed. (The study) will give us the answer on what capacity the new power plant can have. If it is what we plan it to be, that is, 3,200 megawatts, that will mean that Poland's needs can be met," Kirkilas said. He added that energy companies from the three Baltic countries and Poland would continue their talks in Riga next week.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 23rd of October

Grigiskes will install new paper processing line
Grigiskes, the largest Lithuania's hardboard and toilet paper manufacturer, will install a new LTL 11 million worth paper processing line under a contract signed with Fabio Perini, Italy's producer of tissue converting machinery, earlier in October. With the line installed, Grigiskes would launch the production of paper napkins with three-dimensional effects in the summer of 2008, the company said in a statement. Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Akmenes Cementas reports sales
Akmenes Cementas (Akmene Cement), the sole Lithuania's cement manufacturer, reported LTL 179.2 million in sales for the first nine months of 2007, a surge of 37.6 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 130.28 million. Arturas Zaremba, Akmenes Cementas CEO, attributed the increase in sales to growing demand on domestic market. The company was not afraid of competition with cement importers; Zaremba said adding that the prices of cement offered by importers was not competitive as yet. As reported previously, Swedish building materials producer HeidelbergCement Northern Europe has recently acquired Lithuania's cement wholesaler Gerdukas, which has launched the imports of cement from Sweden by sea. Verslo Zinios

Lithuania’s industrial output rose
Lithuania's industrial output and sales rose by 3.4 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, the Statistics Department reported on Monday. Year-on-year, the mining and quarrying sector and the manufacturing sector grew by 4.2 percent. Excluding oil products, the growth was 13.2 percent, it said. Electricity, gas and water supplies decreased by 2.3 percent in the reporting period.
Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 22nd of October

Rokiskio Suris votes in favor of ten-for-one share split
The shareholders of Rokiskio Suris (Rokiskis Cheese), the leading Lithuania's dairy company, have voted in favor of ten-for-one share split. Each stock with a LTL 10 face value will be exchanged into ten shares with LTL 1 face value. The authorized capital of the company (LTL 42.717 million) and the shareholders' structure will remain unchanged, the company has said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE).

New SPA in Druskininkai
The company Achemos Grupe has opened the new SPA centre SPA Druskininkai worth LTL 30 million in Druskininkai. The SPA was established in former Lietuva sanatorium premises. The visitors of the SPA will be able to use wellness, Western and Eastern medicine services, massage procedures; there are pools, bathhouses, tea and juice bars and etc. It is not the first wellness centre in Druskininkai initiated by Achema Grupe, the investments of the group reach LTL 50 million in the town now. More than 100 of people from Druskininkai are working in the SPA centres established by Achema Group.
Verslo Zinios

Magristal gas pipe
The company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) is opening the magistral gas pipe Sakiai – Jurbarkas; LTL 32 million were invested into the new gas pipe. Lietuvos Dujos announced that it was only one part of the gas pipe, as it is planed that the pipe would connect Sakiai and Klaipeda. The total length of the gas pipe is going to be 28.4 kilometres. 8 companies and 14 household users were connected to the first part of the gas pipe.
Verslo Zinios

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