Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 9.2008

Saturday, 1st of March

Consumer prices should grow by 1.1 percent
Consumer prices should grow by 1.1 percent in Lithuania over February, the country's Statistics Department projects. The twelve-month inflation average would reach 6.9 percent, while the annual inflation would hit 10.7 percent. The growth of food prices continues, the prices of spirits and tobacco will also increase somewhat although their weight is not significant. The prices of clothing and footwear should decline somewhat, and the prices should also decline in the telecommunications sector. In other groups the prices are mostly heading up, in particular in the healthcare. In January the harmonized monthly inflation made up 1.7 percent, twelve-month average and annual inflation - 6.3 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Changes in Mazeikiu Nafta
The supervisory board of Poland's PKN Orlen, the majority owner of Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), has suspended its CEO Piotr Kownacki for an indefinite period of time following his criticism of the new government. The recently-appointed supervisory board said in a statement on Thursday that Kownacki had taken actions that led to "significant worsening" of the company's image. "These actions include statements of political character, pulling the company into current political disputes," it said. The supervisory board, which underwent significant changes in early February, expressed hope that the CEO's suspension would help rebuild "a non-political working atmosphere" in the company.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Pieno Zvaigzde reports its annual profit
Pieno Zvaigzdes, one of the largest dairy producers in Lithuania, said on Friday that its annual net profit soared to LTL 33.305 million last year, up 80.1 percent from LTL 18.492 million in 2006. Full-year sales revenue jumped by 21.7 percent to LTL 663.379 million, the company reported to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). Most of last year's revenue came from sales in Lithuania and exports to Russia. Revenue from exports to Germany reached LTL 44.714 million and exports to Latvia generated LTL 18.242 million in revenue. Another LTL 53.682 million came from exports to other markets.

Friday, 29th of February

GDP in Lithuania grows
Lithuania's gross domestic product grew by 8.8 percent in 2007 compared with 2006 to reach LTL 96.773 billion revised figures from the Statistics Department showed on Thursday. The figure is slightly above the preliminary estimate of 8.7 percent released in January. The department said that in the fourth quarter of 2007 the economy expanded by 8 percent year-on-year to LTL 27.257 billion, up from its previous estimate of 7.9 percent. The growth in the fourth quarter was recorded in construction, up 13.1 percent, followed by wholesale and retail trade and transport and communications services, up 10.1 percent, and financial intermediation and real estate services, up 8.5 percent.

Panevezio Statybos Trestas reports revenues
Panevezio Statybos Trestas (PST), one of the leading construction companies in Lithuania, reported on Thursday LTL 517 million in consolidated revenue for 2007, a 1.5 times increase on the previous year. The company exceeded its 2007 revenue target of LTL 470 million. The builder's net profit more than doubled last year to LTL 30 million, compared with its net profit target of LTL 24 million. Panevezio Keliai, a local company, is the largest single shareholder of PST, which is quoted on the blue-chip Main List of the Vilnius Stock Exchange.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Total retail sales rise
Lithuania's total retail sales rose by 22 percent in January from a year earlier to LTL 2.788 billion preliminary data from the Statistics Department showed on Thursday. Food retailers boosted their aggregate turnover by 4.8 percent, while non-food retailers, excluding the automotive sector, recorded a 24.5 percent increase in sales. Textile, clothing and footwear retailers posted the sharpest rise in sales, at 47 percent. The aggregate turnover of restaurants, bars and other catering establishments increased by 11.8 percent to LTL 80.1 million.

Thursday, 28th of February

EU integration study
Accession to the European Union (EU) added 2.7 percentage points on average to the annual growth of Lithuania's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004-2006, the study commissioned by the government's office has shown. The benefits of EU integration for Lithuania are more significant than expected in 2002, the company Ekonomines Konsultacijos ir Tyrimai has said in a study report. Back in 2002, the experts conducted an analogous study and projected that the integration into the EU would boost the country's GDP growth by 1.3 percent per year on average in 2004-2006. "The latest study shows that the EU common market and free trade had the largest effects on the growth of Lithuania's GDP, not the financial support. Yet we believe that the effects of support on the country's GDP growth will get more pronounced in future," Rimantas Rudzkis, chief analyst with DnB Nord bank and the study expert, said during the presentation of study results on Wednesday.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Kaunas Bridges purchase Polish firm
Kauno Tiltai (Kaunas Bridges), one of Lithuania's biggest road and bridge construction companies, last month purchased the Polish engineering services firm Dalba as part of efforts to strengthen its position in the neighboring market. "Currently, the companies we control in Poland mostly operate in the north-eastern region of the country. We intend to expand the geographical area of our operations and we do not rule out new acquisitions," Romas Matiukas, a member of the management board at Kauno Tiltai, said. Matiukas on Wednesday was appointed chairman of the supervisory board at Dalba.
Verslo Zinios

Media advertisement rises
Lithuania's media advertising market rose by 15.6 percent last year versus 2006, as total expenditures on advertising, including discounts, made up LTL 497 million. "The growth of advertising market, which continued for the eighth consecutive year, was prompted by growing advertisers' budgets, development of advertising channels, growth of advertising prices and stronger competition on domestic market," Gytis Juodpusis, media director with TNS Gallup researcher, said in a statement. Yet, the growth of advertising market slowed down somewhat as in 2006 the market expanded by 18.3 percent, to LTL 430.1 million. In 2007 advertising on TV and in newspapers accounted for 45.7 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively, of the total market as measured by expenditures on advertising. Expenditures on TV advertising grew by 21.4 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 227 million, while expenditures on advertising in newspapers increased by 3.3 percent, to LTL 124 million.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 27th February

FlyLAL chooses to change International Securities identifying number
Largest Lithuanian local capital airlines, FlyLAL - Lithuanian Airlines, chooses to change International Securities Identifying Number (ISIN), a unique stock number designed for identification purposes, over superstitions. The airline will opt for removing the pattern of repeating sixes in their ISIN - currently LT0000126666 - as three sixes are considered to be the number of the devil. FlyLaL has presented their request to change the number to the Lithuanian Central Securities. "In aviation, just as in any other domain, numbers have always been important and thus remain - traditionally, numbers 13 and 666 are globally avoided. Everyone knows there's no 13th row on airplanes, and attempts are made to evade repeated sixes as well. FlyLAL also observes this universal tradition. A most improbable case was our ISIN code, which ends in sixes. Therefore, observing the "superstitions" of aviation, we shall change it", Head of FlyLaL Group, Linas Dovydenas, is quoted in a press release. He noted that the airline reviewed all of number combinations utilized by the company and made changes, omitting numbers that are objectionable in aviation. Head of the company noted that in this manner, business pays its tribute to global tradition.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Average monthly gross salary rises
The average monthly gross salary in Lithuania rose by 18.5 percent in the last quarter of 2007 from a year earlier to reach LTL 2,052 the Statistics Department reported on Tuesday. The average net monthly salary grew by 18 percent year-on-year to LTL 1,527, it said. Real wages in the entire economy (excluding sole proprietorships) increased by 9.5 percent from a year earlier. The growth rate in the public sector was 4.6 percent and in the private sector it was 12.6 percent. The average salary in the private sector grew at a faster rate than in the public sector. The gross salary in the private sector rose by 22.2 percent to LTL 2.061 and in the public sector it rose by 13 percent to LTL 2,036. The net salary increased by 21.4 percent to LTL 1,533 and by 12.8 percent to LTL 1,516, respectively.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Ragutis brewery reports numbers
Finnish-controlled Lithuanian brewery Ragutis reported LTL 3.86 million in pretax profit for full 2007, a surge of 50 percent versus the year-earlier figure. Full-year sales rose by 17.2 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 94.7 million. "The rise in sales resulted on growing demand in cider and alcopops as well as successful start of Dynamit on the energy drinks market," Ragutis CEO Vytautas Meistas said in a statement. The company says it held 10 percent of domestic beer market, 37 percent of cider market and 21 percent of domestic alcopops market in 2007. Sales in UK and Ireland made up LTL 0.5 million last year.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 26th February

Harvest of grain increases
The total harvest of grain in Lithuania increased by 1.6 times in 2007 compared with 2006 to 3.07 million tons, the Statistics Department reported on Monday. The growth was due to a 4 percent increase in the total crop area and a 1.6 times higher yield, it said. The rapeseed harvest increased by 1.8 times last year to 311,900 tons, the potato harvest rose by 26 percent to 576,100 tons, and that of outdoor vegetables was up 38 percent to 246,600 tons. The harvest of winter crops increased by 1.9 times to 1.55 million tons and that of summer crops by 41.3 percent to 1.46 million tons.
Kauno Diena, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Arrangements in the management
The executives of NDX Energija, the private equity company due to take part in the construction of new Lithuania's nuclear power plant, keep mum on looming management changes and promise to provide more details in an official statement that will be released later on Monday or on Tuesday. Zilvinas Marcinkevicius, a co-owner of VP Group, said on Sunday that he would pull out of NDX Energija board on Monday. Several other board members might also be replaced. Marcinkevicius and Darius Nedzinskas, NDX Energija chairman and CEO, refused to comment on looming changes. Nedzinskas told BNS, however, that the group would discuss that question later on Monday and release an official statement. Government representatives who participated in talks with NDX Energija said to be unaware as to what the withdrawal of Marcinkevicius might mean.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena

Vilkyskiai Dairy issues new shares
Vilkyskiu Pienine (Vilkyskiai Dairy), one of the most technologically advanced cheese producers in Lithuania, expects to raise at least LTL 13.986 million through a new share issue to finance its acquisition of Kelmes Pienine (Kelme Dairy). The company said in a statement on Monday that it would grant the rights to subscribe to the new issue to funds managed by Finasta Investiciju Valdymas (Finasta Investment Management) and by the SEB bank and to businessman Linas Strelis. Vilkyskiu Pienine said that it was planning to sell 2.59 million new shares at a price of at least LTL 5.4 a share. It is calling an extraordinary meeting of shareholders on March 7 to obtain approval for the new share offering.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 25th of February

Lithuanian food producers will participate in international exhibition
Lithuania's food producers are to exhibit their products at the annual exhibition Gulfood 2008 in Dubai. Lithuania will be represented by the companies Litamilk, Naujasis Nevezis and Rivona at the exhibition due on February 24-27, the Ministry of Agriculture has reported. Litamilk will exhibit dry milk products, Rivona - carrot drinks, juices, canned vegetables, pickled mushrooms and cucumbers, soups, sauces, dairy products. Naujasis Nevezis will display cereal breakfasts, chips, and snacks. The 13th Gulfood exhibition is the largest food industry event in the Persian Gulf region. Last year the area of exhibition exceeded 50,000 square meters with the products of almost 2,500 companies from 75 countries on display.
Verslo Zinios

No services from Russia are needed
Russia's producers will not be able to supply reactors to new nuclear power plant to be built in Lithuania. Lithuania's authorities expected the bidders to be Western companies, Economy Ministry Secretary Anicetas Ignotas admitted during a news conference on Friday. "The legislation stipulates that the unit shall meet the transatlantic integration criteria," he reminded. He also admitted that the Russian producer of nuclear reactors, Atomstroyexport, might not even participate in the tender initiated for the construction of the new Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania. Verslo Zinios

Eko Group invests more
The company, Eko Group, which invests into ecologic transport every year, bought four new ecologic dust cars for LTL 1.8 million. Gediminas Puzinas, director of Eko Group, states that clean and immaculate environment is one of the greatest virtues of the company. The company saves about 270,000 of trees, 9,000 tons of oil and 540,000 cubic metres of water every year, while reproducing increasing quantities of secondary materials every year. Currently Eko Group has the widest network of secondary materials' recycling companies in Lithuania, which service the shopping centres and other companies throughout the country. Eko Group owns its subsidiaries in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Alytus and other bigger towns. The company intends to reach LTL 15.8 turnover this year, which would be by 30 percent bigger than in 2007. Verslo Zinios

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