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Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 51.2007

Saturday, 22nd of December

Sports car market Spyker Cars
Lithuanian commercial bank Snoras, which is controlled by Russia's businessman Vladimir Antonov and Lithuania's banker Raimondas Baranauskas, will acquire 29.8 percent of Netherlands' high-end sports car maker Spyker Cars for 18.575 million euros and will extend a EUR 15.84 million loan to the car company. On December 21 Snoras signed an agreement with Spyker Cars, under which the banking group will purchase shares and fulfil all obligations set forth therein by the end of January 2008, Snoras said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). In line with the agreement, on December 21 Snoras will grant a EUR 6.34 million loan to Spyker, which will issue almost 2.319 million A shares, which Snoras will purchase at EUR 4 per share, i.e. for EUR 9.275 million in total, Spyker Cars said in a release. On January 21 Spyker will hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting due to propose to appoint Antonov a chairman of Spyker's supervisory board. "This transaction is important to Snoras because it will expand our business opportunities and geographical range. We analyzed Spyker's business plan and strongly believe that Spyker can significantly increase its production, improve its financial performance and prove that Spyker is a peer in the high-end car manufacturing industry as an innovative and sustainable player. I am looking forward to a long-term beneficial cooperation between Snoras and Spyker", Antonov said. Victor R.Muller, Spyker Cars CEO, added: "I am both pleased and proud to welcome Snoras Bank as our strategic partners today. Their long-term intentions and strategic views on how Spyker should develop are entirely in line with those of Spyker's management. Through Snoras and its shareholders we will have a strong introduction to various markets. After a very difficult year we could not think of a better way to end 2007 than to announce this partnership. We realize that it will take some time to regain the confidence of our business partners, suppliers and customers but we are convinced that such confidence will be restored soon. Spyker is now ready to enter a new phase in its history." Spyker Cars, which has taken over the rights of Spyker, a carmaker established back in 1880 and bankrupt in 1929, manufactures high-end sports cars. Its best-known models include Spyker C8, Spyker D12 Peking-to-Paris and Spyker C12 Zagato.
Lietuvos Rytas

Electronic trade system of real estate
It is expected that the public electronic trade system of real estate will start working next year, so soon it would be much easier and quicker to register the contracts. The project the Public Electronic Service of Real Estate Contracts financed by the European Union and the Centre of Register was presented yesterday in the seminar held in the Ministry of Justice. Its aim is to create and move the service of registration and contracts of real estate into the electronic space according to the principle of “one square”. The conditions of registration will be much easier after the project will be realized because it would not be necessary to stand in queues with documents in the Centre of Registers.

Holidays - bigger accounts for mobile connection operators
Christmas for the mobile connection operators is also the season of presents. Even for the messages the operators will receive thousands litas into their accounts. According to the data of the Council of the Connections' Regulator, in the year 2007 people sent 2 billion 164 million 856 thousand 797 short messages (SMS) in the mobile connection network. It was LTL 35 million 621 thousand without the Gross Value Added at Current Prices. According to the counting, the approximate price of the SMS message is about LTL 0,02. This is the result of the market of the connection operators because the factual price of one SMS message is lessened by various actions. According to the data of counting provided by the mobile connection operators, LTL 194 thousand might go into the account of the mobile connection operator Bite on the day of Christmas only for the short messages; LTL 174,6 thousand might go into the account of Omnitel and LTL 252,2 thousand - into the account of Tele2.

Friday, 21st of December

Puma company in Lithuania
Puma, one of the world's leading sports and lifestyle brands, on Wednesday established a company in Vilnius, Puma Lietuva (Puma Lithuania). Puma has until now coordinated its operations in Lithuania through its Polish subsidiary, Puma Polska. According to data from the Register Centre, Puma Lietuva has an authorized share capital of LTL 2 million and is headed by Sarunas Kulvietis, a former market monitoring and business communication specialist at Puma Polska. Puma entered the Lithuanian market in March this year by opening its first outlet in the country in partnership with Armitana, a local company.
Kauno Diena

Fine for Tez Tour
Lithuania's Court of Appeals has ordered Tez Tour, the Turkish-equity tour operator, to pay almost LTL 1 million in arrears for charter flights to Lithuania's air carrier Aurela. The court's decision was just, Valdas Barakauskas, Aurela's CEO, said in a statement. "Long-lasting litigation could do harm to the good name of our company. That is why it is very important that the Court of Appeals has acknowledged the validity and legitimacy of our claim," he added. The companies accused each other of arrears in courts. The Vilnius Regional Court backed earlier Aurela's claim. In October 2006 Aurela asked for the adjustment of almost LTL 1 million in arrears payable by Tez Tour for summer charter flights to foreign resorts ordered by Tez Tour.
Kauno Diena

Insurance market in Lithuania
Lithuania's insurance market grew by 36.8 percent in the first eleven months of this year from a year earlier, to reach LTL 1.766 billion the Insurance Supervisory Commission (DPK) reported on Thursday. Year-on-year, the non-life insurance market expanded by 25.9 percent, to LTL 1.156 billion, while the life insurance market soared by 63.9 percent, to LTL 610.359 million. Non-life insurance accounted for 65.4 percent of eleven-month premiums, down from 71.1 percent in January-November 2006, while the share of life insurers rose to 34.6 percent, from 28.9 percent. The country's insurance companies paid out a total of LTL 580.937 million in claims in January through November, up 35.1 percent versus the year earlier. Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 20th of December

New investment bank Finasta in Lithuania
The Bank of Lithuania has given a green light for Finasta Imoniu Finansai (FIF), the corporate consultancy controlled by the investment company Invalda, to establish an investment bank Finasta. With the Finasta bank established, the central bank would later issue an operating license. The bank might launch business in the second quarter of 2008 and should offer the full range of services by mid-2008, Dalius Kaziunas, CEO of Finasta, claimed that the stockbroker company also controlled by Invalda. Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

National investor named Leo LT
The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to propose establishing a new parent company, which would be named Leo LT, to act as a national investor in key energy projects. Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said after the Cabinet's sitting that the government had chosen one of three options. The other two options considered were to merge the two power distribution grid operators, Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) and VST, into the power transmission grid operator Lithuanian Energy, as provided for by a law passed last summer, or to discontinue the negotiations with NDX Energija, a privately-owned firm that owns VST. According to reports that have not been confirmed officially, should the government and the parliament decide to set up the national investment company via the establishment of new parent company that would incorporate the state-run Lietuvos Energija and power grid operator RST, as well as the other power grid operator VST, which is controlled by NDX Energija, the state would own some 61.7 percent of soon-to-be-established energy giant, while NDX Energija would have a 38.3 percent interest.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo ZInios

Waste recycling
Lithuania's EMP Recycling, the leading Lithuania's recycler of electronic and car waste, reported LTL 74.5 million in sales for the first nine months of 2007, a surge of 52 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 49 million. Almontas Kybartas, the company's CEO, attributed the growth to the expansion of waste collection network in Lithuania.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 19th of December

Controlling energy company in Lithuania
The Lithuanian government and NDX Energija, a privately owned firm, have agreed on a common position in case the so-called "national investor" in key energy projects is created by establishing a new company, rather than by merging the two power distribution grid operators into Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy). The new company would control all three energy companies -- Lietuvos Energija, Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai and VST. Under this scenario, NDX Energija, the owner of VST, would have a stake of 38.5 to 39 percent in the new company, which is exactly what the private investors expected before the start of the negotiations, the papers wrote.
Respublika, Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Net profits
Lithuanian-based financial brokerage companies posted LTL 20.4 million in combined net profits for the first nine months of this year, up 25.9 percent from LTL 16.2 million a year earlier, the Securities Commission reported on Tuesday. Net profits of management companies increased more than fourfold over the reporting period, to LTL 26.8 million from LTL 6.3 million, it said.
Lietuvos Rytas

Acquisition of Litagra Grain Centre
Litagra Grain Centre, which is part of the Lithuanian agribusiness group Litagra, has completed the acquisition of a 72.5 percent stake in Kedainiai Grain, a local grain processing company. Hansabankas financed the acquisition of the shares, Litagra said in a statement on Tuesday. The company did not disclose the value of the deal, but data from the Lithuanian Central Securities Depository show that 72.51 percent of the stock capital of Kedainiai Grain changed hands in the over-the-counter market this month for a total of LTL 24.7 million.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 18th of December

Rise of minimum salary
The minimum monthly salary in Lithuania will rise by LTL 100 to LTL 800 from January 1 next year, the government decided on Monday. The minimum hourly pay rate will go up by 15 percent, to LTL 4.85 from the current LTL 4.19. Social Security and Labour Minister Vilija Blinkeviciute said the net minimum salary after deductions of income tax and state social insurance contribution would increase by around LTL 73. The Social Security and Labour Ministry has said that the increase of the minimum salary from LTL 700 to LTL 800 will cost the state an additional LTL 14 million annually. Some 8.5 percent of the country's working population earned minimum salaries or less last year, according to data from the Statistics Department. Kauno Diena, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Entrance of NDX Energy into Lithuania
More than a fortnight long talks between Lithuania's government and private equity company NDX Energija have been wrapped up. However, the results are not being announced for the time being. The lawyers would review the texts of documents, and the negotiators would hold another meeting on Monday to harmonize those documents officially, Vytas Navickas, economy minister and head of governmental group of negotiators, told the reporters on Sunday night after the completion of the round of talks that lasted for almost 12 hours. On Saturday the groups of negotiators worked about 14 hours. The decision would probably be adopted on Wednesday, Navickas added. The governmental task group would put forward two alternatives - either to establish the national investment company on the framework of state-run power utility Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), as provided for in the new nuclear power plant legislation, or to set up a new parent company that would require respective amendments to the legislation to be passed. With the first option chosen, NDX Energija would not participate in the setting up of the national investment company, often dubbed "the three-headed dragon". In the other case the company would get more than one-third in the new company that would be set up via the merger of Lietuvos Energija, the state-run power grid operator Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) and the other power grid operator VST, which is controlled by NDX Energija. "Both parties to negotiations have discussed all issues, no issues for consideration remain - the discussions are closed. We have coordinated the provisions for the functioning of the national investment company, and that company could work successfully on that basis. There will be a common position," Navickas told the reporters. "The discussions of all issues have been wrapped up. I think it is important," Darius Nedzinskas, NDX Energija CEO, said after the talks.
Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Threee Lithuanian companies will be adde to the Main List
Shares of Invalda, Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) and Vilkyskiu Pienine (Vilkyskiai Dairy) will be added to the blue-chip Main List of the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE) from January 1 next year. A company's transition from the Secondary Trading List to the Main List, which is subject to more stringent requirements, is a purposeful and planned step that can be viewed as a new milestone in the quality and maturity of the business. The Main List of the Baltic stock exchanges will comprise 40 companies from the start of 2008, including 15 Lithuanian companies.
Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 17th of December

Holidays should be for everyone
Lithuanians are agreeing with the decision that during the holidays the supermarkets are not going to work. With such decision of the supermarket owners agreed 60 percent of residents and 36 percent of them disagreed. The decision not to work during the holidays is less popular among the younger people up to 35 years old, of higher education, owners of the biggest income and the citizens of the big cities. The biggest supermarkets announced their decision not to work during holidays at the end of October. The business people are suggesting an experiment and they are not intending to continue it next year. Of course, it might become a tradition as it is in Western countries too.
Lietuvos Zinios

Suggestions solving the problem of inflation
Experts suspect that the plan of the unti-inflation confirmed by the cabinet of ministers will not give any result. Almost the biggest arsenal of the suggestions for the unti-inflation is targeted to the market of realty. However, according to the specialists these suggestions are provided too late and instead of stopping inflation they might encourage the weight of the shadow economy.

Various shops on Internet are also attractive
Before the biggest holidays of the year, supermarkets provide attempting offers; nonetheless, the Internet attempts more people with its offers. The company TBA Projektai offered buying Christmas trees on the Internet. It is possible to choose a real Christmas tree of a favourable size on the Internet website, and to pay for the goods in advance. According to Rasa Baltusyte, director of the project, such service is offered in Lithuania for the first time. Now only Lithuanians of the company of Kaunas and Vilnius who live abroad are able to order Christmas trees on the Internet. They also can buy presents and goods for their relatives on the Internet. Such service was also offered by the online selling website which has got several hundreds of orders during the first month of its existence. Children can send virtual letters on the website for Santa Claus. Parents register their child whose letter travels to his/her parents' e-mail box.
Kauno Diena

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