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 Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 48.2007

Saturday, 1st of December

Invalda reports numbers
The group of local and foreign companies controlled by the Lithuanian investment company Invalda on Friday reported a strong rise in net profits for the first nine months of this year and said it was on track to meet its full-year financial targets. The Invalda Group posted LTL 47.3 million in consolidated net profits for the nine months of this year. Net profit attributable to the parent company rose to LTL 40.3 million, the company said. Invalda itself saw its net profit for the three quarters soar to LTL 83.8 million, up from LTL 30.1 million a year earlier.

Electricity prices will not rise
Electricity prices for households in Lithuania will not rise from next January, but prices for other consumers will go up, the National Commission for Prices and Energy decided on Friday. The decision came a day after energy companies, under pressure from the government to back down on their planned price hikes, agreed to leave electricity prices for households unchanged at this year's levels, at the expense of their profits. The heads of distribution grid operators, RST and VST, and the power transmission company Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy) did not forecast on Friday how much electricity prices could increase in 2009. It was planned earlier that electricity prices for households would rise by three Lithuanian centas per kilowatt-hour next year.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Gas prices will rapidly increase
The prices of natural gas will surge by more than 70 percent for Lithuania's users from January, in line with the new retail prices of Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas), the natural gas utility, which the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy approved earlier on Friday. However, Lithuania might agree on a slightly lower gas imports prices by the end of December, thus the eventual rise in the retail price for end users might be somewhat smaller. As approved by the commission, the price of natural gas for users consuming the fuel for cooking and heating of small accommodation (up to 800 cubic meters per year) will grow to LTL 1.69 per 1 cubic meter, from current LTL 1. Lietuvos Dujos is projecting the imports price of natural gas to reach LTL 884.55 from January, while the price, including the company's profit margin, will go up to LTL 922.34 per 1,000 cubic meters. The price of natural gas for Lithuania will actually increase by approximately one-third from January.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Friday, 30th of November

New president for Dvarcionys Ceramics
Marek Andrzej Ungier has been appointed as president and board chairman of Dvarcioniu Keramika (Dvarcionys Ceramics), the only ceramic tile manufacturer in the Baltics, the company said on Thursday. Ungier will replace Juozas Raiselis, who has sold his shares in Dvarcioniu Keramika and resigned as the company's president and board chairman. Raiselis earlier this month sold his 17.97 percent stake in Dvarcioniu Keramika to Poland's Opoczno, the Lithuanian company's majority shareholder. The deal is yet to be approved by Lithuania's competition authority. Opoczno, which is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, currently owns 60.25percent of shares in Dvarcioniu Keramika.
Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Parex raises its stock capital by LTL 65 million
Latvian-owned Lithuanian bank Parex has raised its stock capital by LTL 65 million, to 180 million. "An almost sixfold rise in authorized capital, investments into the opening of 16 new customer service units and the exclusive right to issue and service American Express-branded cards in Lithuania are the three key achievements of the last year and a half, which Parex bank will build its further growth upon," Alma Vaitkunskiene, the bank's chairwoman, said in a statement. The assets and loan portfolio of the bank soared more than twofold from January, to reach LTL 1.5 billion and LTL 1157 million, respectively, as of November 1. The loan portfolio expanded by 37 percent, to LTL 527 million during the period.

Enterprise Investors buy the majority interest in Novaturas
Central and Eastern European (CEE) private-equity investment company Enterprise Investors is buying the majority interest in Novaturas, the leading Baltic tour operator, for more than LTL 138 million, the representatives of Novaturas have announced at a news conference on Thursday. The purchase marks the first investment by Enterprise Investors, the leading CEE investment company, in Lithuania and the Baltic countries. Moreover, the deal is one of the largest in the Lithuanian services sector in last seven years. A decision to invest in Novaturas was inspired by expectations of continued economic development in the Baltic countries, in particular in Lithuania, and growth of expenditures on travel. "We want to make Novaturas a central axis of tour operators consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe," Sebastian Krol, a partner with Enterprise Investors claimed. The precise stake being purchased by Enterprise Investors and the names of the companies due to keep shares in Novaturas have not been disclosed.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 29th of November

IKI changes owner
Lithuania's grocery chain Iki, which is now in the process of owners' change, may undergo a name change in future. Such ambitions are cherished by France's retail chain E.Leclerc, one of participants of Coopernic alliance buying the majority interest in Iki chain, the AFP news agency has reported. Three outlets of Iki chain might initially change the name to E.Leclerc, the agency says. Other founders of the alliance set up back in 2006 include Germany's Rewe, Belgium's Colruyt, Italy's Conad and Switzerland's Coop. The Thomson Financial agency quoted Rewe CEO Alain Caparros as saying at a news conference in Brussels that Iki would not become the sixth member of Coopernic alliance since it would probably be absorbed by the existing members of the alliance. The partners of Coopernic, the alliance of independent European retailers, aim to acquire 80 percent of Palink, the operator of Iki chain. Baltisches Haus, an offshore-registered company, would retain a 20 percent interest in the company.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

GDP grows
Lithuania's gross domestic product grew by 10.8 percent in the third quarter of this year compared with a year ago, to reach LTL 26119,2 million, according to adjusted data released by the Statistics Department on Wednesday. The GDP figure was revised down from LTL 26473,5 million in a flash estimate published a month ago. The GDP growth figure is unchanged from the previous estimate. The industrial and energy sector grew at a slower rate, 7.6 percent, the Statistics Department said.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

British Airways pulls out of Lithuania
British Airways is pulling out of Lithuania a year after ending flights between London and Vilnius. The company has announced in the media that it is closing down its office in Vilnius. It stopped operating flights between London and Vilnius in the autumn of 2006, saying that the route was unprofitable.
Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 28th of November

Average monthly gross wages rise
Average monthly gross wages (excluding sole proprietorships) rose by 17.9 percent in Lithuania in the third quarter of this year from a year earlier, to reach LTL 1,949.8 the Statistics Department reported. The average net salary grew by 17.4 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 1,449.3 in the reporting period. Real wages in the entire economy (excluding sole proprietorships) increased by 10.9 percent from a year earlier. In the public sector, the real wages increased by 5.9 percent, while in the private sector the growth rate was 14.2 percent.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Cilija reports numbers
Lithuania's Cilija, the operator of public catering chain Cili, reported LTL 120.18 million in consolidated sales for the first nine months of 2007, a surge of 34.2 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 89.55 million. The fastest growth was achieved in Latvia where the nine-month sales soared by 63 percent, to LTL 28.15 million, from LTL 17.23 million in January-September 2006.

Orion Securities signs a contract with City Service
Orion Securities, a Norwegian-owned Lithuanian brokerage, signed on Tuesday a contract to provide market-making services to City Service, a company listed on the blue-chip Main List of the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). Orion Securities is to start the market-making services on Dec. 3, City Service said in a statement to the VSE. The main purpose of market making is to improve share liquidity, which is a key criterion in making investment decisions. Orion Securities is currently the only market maker in the Lithuanian stock market. The brokerage now provides market-making services to Vilkyskiu Pienine, one of the country's most technologically advanced cheese producers.

Tuesday, 27th of November

Roslitstroy divests its interest in the Kaliningrad-based construction business
Lithuanian shareholders of Roslitstroy have divested their interests in the Kaliningrad-based construction business to a Russian company. Lithuania's businesspeople have decided to pull out of Kaliningrad following the mysterious disappearance of company's CEO Stanislovas Jucius in April. Aleksandr Semkin, who then replaced Jucius, was murdered four months later. "We have sold all shares controlled by the Lithuanians - a total of 68 percent. Who could continue work there under such circumstances?" said Vasilijus Popovas, a shareholder and board member of Jupoja, the operator of Roslitstroy. Jucius disappeared in mid-April. His disappearance is allegedly related with business since he had been threatened on several occasions. Verslo Zinios

EU financial support
The EU issued financial support for business, energetic and tourism projects, the total amount of the support reaches LTL 1.15 billion. The Ministry of Economy is currently supervising 333 of such projects, which were financed by the EU in 2004-2006. 150 contracts were signed with companies until the end of 2006. Moreover, there were 125 contracts signed in energetic sector for LTL 293 million support and 58 contracts in tourism sector worth LTL 408 million. Other projects' applications will be accepted in 2008.
Verslo Zinios

Lietuvos Draudimas is a candidate for an award
The insurance company Lietuvos Draudimas and one of the leading business management consultations companies in Lithuania SDG are the main candidates to receive this year's European Business awards Ruban d'Honneur. The winners will be announced on March 11, 2008 in Paris.
Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 26th of November

Lithuanian Railways raise fright traffic
Lithuania's national railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) raised freight traffic by 6.3 percent, year-on-year, to 44.2 million tons, in the first ten months of 2007. Year-on-year, international freight volumes grew by 11.6 percent, to 33.8 million tons, while domestic freight traffic decreased by 7.9 percent, to 10.4 million tons, the Statistics Department reported. Transit shipments accounted for 48 percent of the total international freight traffic, down by 4.8 percentage points compared with a year ago. In October alone, the freight traffic of the company came close to 4.35 million tons, up 10.1 percent year-on-year and up 1.3 percent from September.
Verslo Zinios

Brasa presents numbers
The turnover of the Furniture fitting producer in Vilnius, Brasa, reached LTL 13 million during the ten months of the year, it is by 28.7 percent more than last year during the same time. According to the director of Brasa, Marina Klopova, the increase of the turnover was influenced by the contract signed with the Italian company FGV this year. Brasa has been operating in Lithuania since 1997 and expands its production to the Baltic States.
Verslo Zinios

Sabelijos Prekyba expands its activities
The company Sabelijos Prekyba intends to expand its activity and obtain a couple of sewing companies. It is also planned to offer new service to the market - the implementation of small orders in a very short time, in no more than five days. Currently, it is not announced which companies and for what amount of money Sabelijos Prekyba plans to obtain them. Dale Egle Satkauskiene, head of Sabelijos Prekyba, states that the new service will try to fill the gaps, which are still noticed in the clothing market in Lithuania. Sabelijos Prekyba also plans to export its new services to foreign markets soon.
Verslo Zinios

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