Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 7.2008

Saturday, 16th of February

National Holidays.

Friday, 15th of February

Inflation rises
The annual inflation hit 9.9 percent in Lithuania in January, as the twelve-month inflation average made up 6.2 percent, the country's Statistics Department reported on Thursday. Over a month, consumer prices increased by 1.6 percent. Earlier the department projected a 0.8 percent monthly inflation for January. The rise in annual inflation was largely the result of 17.5 percent surge in the prices of accommodation, water, electricity, gas and other fuel, 15.9 percent rise in the prices of foodstuffs and soft drinks, and a 15.8 percent increase in the prices of transport goods and services. The increase was partially offset by a 5 percent decline in the prices of clothing and footwear.
Kauno Diena, Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

If Draudimas posts profit
If Draudimas (If Insurance), Lithuania's non-life insurer that is part of Scandinavia's general insurance group If P & C Insurance, posted LTL 8.7 million in profit for full 2007. The amount of premiums written by the company soared by almost 30 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 125.9 million, the company said in a statement. Motor vehicle (kasko) insurance achieved the fastest growth amid all types of insurance offered by the company as the amount of kasko premiums soared twofold, year-on-year. The amount of travel insurance premiums paid by private customers increased by 59 percent.

FlyLAL addresses airBaltic
Lithuania's flagship carrier FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines, which seeks to regain leadership at the International Vilnius Airport, claims that Latvia's carrier AirBaltic, the current leader at Vilnius airport, applies lower ticket prices in the Lithuanian capital compared with Riga. Ticket prices set by the Latvian company for flights from Riga are in certain cases higher than those for flights from Vilnius on the same routes, Linas Dovydenas, CEO of FlyLAL Group, said in a letter to Airbaltic president Bertolt Flick and urged the Latvian carrier to cut those prices. "Having analyzed the prices offered on the market we have noticed that the prices of Airbaltic for flights from Riga are in some cases higher than for flights from Vilnius on the same routes. Moreover, they are higher compared with FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines prices in all cases," the letter said. The difference between the prices of FlyLAL and Airbaltic was even larger since the Latvian company applied a baggage charge, which was not reflected in the price specified for customers, Dovydenas noted.

Thursday, 14th of February

FlyLAL narrows gap with Airbaltic
Lithuania's flagship carrier FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines narrowed a gap with Latvia's carrier Airbaltic in January as the companies are vying for the top spot at the Vilnius International Airport, the largest in Lithuania. Airbaltic retained the lead at the airport in January with a 36.8 percent share of total passenger flow, Arunas Marcinkevicius, the airport's spokesman, said in a statement. FlyLAL, meanwhile, boosted its share by 4 percentage points, to 32.8 percent of the total flow. In January 2007 the shares of the two companies made up 37.54 percent and 31.39 percent, respectively. Passenger flow via the airport reached 130,000 in January, up 30.4 percent versus January 2007.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian furniture producer Narbutas & Ko reported figures
Lithuanian furniture manufacturer Narbutas & Ko reported LTL 93.6 million in sales for full 2007, a surge of 24.8 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 75 million. "This year we will face a challenge, the biggest in more than 17 years of our activities - to shift the main part of manufacturing to a new plant in Ukmerge without interrupting the process and execution of obligations to customers," CEO Petras Narbutas said in a statement. Investments into the new furniture plant, which will be the largest office furniture production facility across the Baltic countries, will exceed LTL 70 million.
Verslo Zinios

Prices for natural gas soar
The prices of natural gas on Lithuania's market soared by 24 percent in January month-on-month, the Statistics Department reported on Wednesday. Other prices in the utilities sector increased as well as the prices of steam and hot water gained 5.2 percent, electricity - 2.8 percent, and cold water - 1.4 percent over the month. Producer prices on domestic market rose by 2.3 percent in January versus December, largely as a result of overall 8 percent increase in the prices of electricity, natural gas, steam and hot water. Excluding petroleum products, producer prices increased by 3 percent on domestic market in the reporting period.
Lietuvos Zinios

Wednesday, 13th February

Lithuania's current deficit widens
Lithuania's current account deficit widened by 44.6 percent last year compared with a year earlier, to LTL 12.7 billion and accounted for 13.2 percent of GDP, the Bank of Lithuania reported on Tuesday. The rise was largely the result of LTL 2.3 billion increase in foreign trade deficit and LTL 2 billion growth in income deficit, the central bank said. In December alone, the current account deficit totalled LTL 878.9 million, down 37.8 percent versus the November figure. Compared with December 2006, the deficit figure rose by 6.4 percent.

Iki will be acquired by Rewe
The European Commission (EC) has given a green light for the second largest Germany's retail chain Rewe, a member of retail alliance Coopernic, to acquire exclusive control of Lithuania's company Palink, the operator of Lithuania's second largest supermarket chain Iki. The permission for Rewe-Beteiligungs-Holding International has been issued after the examination of transaction under the simplified procedure. The German company may take over the control of Palink in line with the European Union's (EU) merger regulations, the Commission has said in a statement. Iki chain reported LTL 2.207 billion in sales in Lithuania and Latvia in 2007, up 32.3 percent, year-on-year.
Respublika, Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Budget revenues
The Lithuanian central government collected LTL 1.817 billion in budget revenues in January, exceeding its monthly revenue target of LTL 1.805 billion by LTL 11.3 million, the Finance Ministry reported on Tuesday. Total revenues, including LTL 341.9 million in support of the EU and other foreign countries, made up LTL 2.158 billion last month. The 2008 central government budget projects annual revenues of LTL 25.572 billion; including LTL 5.113 billion in support funds of the EU and other foreign countries.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday, 12th February

Rokiskis Cheese aims to buy own stocks
Rokiskio Suris (Rokiskis Cheese), one of the largest dairy groups in Lithuania, aims to buy out up to 3.17 percent of own stock offering LTL 6 per share with a face value of LTL 1. The buyout will be affected via a 14-day voluntary tender offer, the company has said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). The buyout is in line with the decision adopted by the shareholders' meeting in December 2006. The value of buyout should reach some LTL 8.13 million if the company succeeds in buying out the whole 3.17 percent stake. Rokiskio Suris, which is quoted on the blue-chip Main List of VSE, traded for LTL 5.91 on Monday.
Verslo Zinios

Leasing market soars by 45 percent
The Lithuanian leasing market soared by 45 percent year-on-year, to reach LTL 10.8 billion as of late 2007, the Lithuanian Leasing Association reported on Monday. The total value of new leasing contracts concluded during the year surged by 47 percent year-on-year to LTL 9.1 billion. Operational leasing portfolio expanded by 35 percent, to LTL 599 million in the reporting period. Last year Lithuania's leasing market grew faster than the respective markets in Latvia and Estonia where the value of new leasing contracts made up LTL 5.79 billion and LTL 5.02 billion, respectively. The performance figures of Lithuania's leasing companies exceeded the projections considerably last year, the association pointed out. The body attributed the growth of the market to numerous factors, including the improvement of economic situation in the country, the growth of gross domestic product, fast development of industry, construction, trade and transport sectors.
Verslo Zinios

AirBaltic presents figures
Latvian airline Airbaltic carried 44,600 passengers to and from Vilnius Airport in January, a rise of almost one-third versus January 2007. The number of Airbaltic's flights to and from Vilnius increased by 29 percent, year-on-year, to 997, the company said in a statement. The carrier's growth had been stable and rather intensive since last spring, Tadas Vizgirda, the head of Airbaltic's Lithuanian office, said. Latvia's state owns 52.6 percent of Airbaltic with Scandinavia's SAS holding a 47.2 percent interest in the carrier. Airbaltic currently operates a fleet of 21 aircraft, including ten Boeing 737-500, three Boeing 737-300 and eight Fokker 50.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 11th of February

Rimi Lietuva reports figures
Rimi Lietuva, the operator of the fourth largest Lithuania's retail chain, reported LTL 72.85 million in sales for January, a rise of 21 percent versus the year-earlier figure. Across the Baltic countries, the sales of Rimi Baltic group increased by 16 percent, to EUR 97.1 million, Rimi Lietuva said in a statement. The sales of Rimi Latvija rose by 21 percent, to 47.2 million euros, while in Estonia the sales of the group edged up by 6 percent, to 28.9 million euros. Last year Rimi Baltic raised the sales by 19 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 3.993 billion, while in Lithuania alone the sales increased by 28 percent, to LTL 856.3 million.
Verslo Zinios

Disruptions in Lithuanian-Polish agreement again
Signing of Lithuanian-Polish agreement on the setting up of a joint venture due to build a power link between two countries, scheduled for February 12, might be postponed again. The visit of Economy Minister Vytas Navickas to Warsaw was being planned although it was still unclear whether it would take place. Official statements say that Poland is still fine-tuning the text of the agreement. However, unofficial sources said that the Polish version of agreement still includes Warsaw's demand for at least 1,000 MW share of output of new nuclear power plant although Navickas said earlier last week that the Poles had dropped that requirement.
Verslo Zinios

LG Electronics steps into Lithuanian market
South Korea's LG Electronics, the second largest global electronics producer, is stepping into Lithuania's market. The Vilnius office of LG Electronics Latvia was registered in Vilnius on Wednesday. According to the data made available by the Center of Registers, the representative office is headed by Zilvinas Kabisaitis. The main rival of LG Electronics on the mobile phones, TV sets and household appliances markets is another South Korean producer Samsung Electronics.
Verslo Zinios

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