Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 17.2008

Saturday, 26th of Apri

Problems with milk market again
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas has asked the Agriculture Ministry and the Competition Council to analyze the situation in the country's milk market and take immediate measures to stabilize it, the government's press office said on Friday.
The authorities are to inform the government about their decisions and table their proposals, it said. Earlier this week, Transport Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said he had asked the Competition Council to look into suspicions that dairy companies had reached a cartel agreement to reduce milk purchase prices.
Kauno Diena, Respublika

Agreement on the creation of Leo LY will not be signed this month
The Lithuanian government and privately-owned NDX Energija this month will not sign an agreement on the creation of a new national energy company, Leo LT. The document is likely to be signed next month, provided that the parliament does not block the process. Ignas Staskevicius, the CEO of NDX Energija, which owns the power distribution company VST, said on Friday that they had not yet agreed on a signing date with the Economy Ministry. He reiterated that before signing the agreement, the company wanted to know who would sit on the supervisory board of the new company. "In my opinion, it is important that before the signing of the agreement, the Supervisory Committee should state its opinion on the composition of the supervisory board, without which the management of the company cannot be formed," Staskevicius said. Saulius Specius, an aide to Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, said that the special Supervisory Committee would not meet next week because Kirkilas, who heads the panel, had a very tight schedule.
Lietuvos Rytas

Omnitel reports figures
Omnitel, the largest Lithuania's mobile operator controlled by Scandinavia's TeliaSonera, reported LTL 249 million in revenues for the first three months of this year, up 15 percent year-on-year. The company's EBITDA margin, however, shrank by 3 percent, to 39 percent, TeliaSonera said in its first-quarter report. The decline in profit margin largely resulted on growing expenses on advertising and sales promotion. Omnitel's investments made up LTL 30 million in January-March 2008.

Friday, 25th of April

No economic crisis in Lithuania, the PM says
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said on Thursday that Lithuania is not experiencing any economic crisis. He said that opposition politicians who are talking about an economic crisis must be experiencing "a crisis in their heads". "Our economy is currently growing at a rather fast rate. We do not have final data for the first quarter yet, but we anticipate a similar growth rate to that we had last year. Inflation is a problem not only for Lithuania and the European Union, it is a global problem," Kirkilas said. "There will be no economic recession in Lithuania. Our industry and our businesses operate really efficiently. There are certain challenges, but I would not call that a crisis. The opposition always sees a crisis. Most probably, there is a crisis in their heads," the prime minister said.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Government approves investments into Leo LT
The Lithuanian government approved on Thursday an investment of LTL 308,500 in state funds from the Economy Ministry's programs into the authorized share capital of a new national energy company, Leo LT. Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said during the Cabinet meeting that the authorized share capital needs to be formed in order to sign an agreement with NDX Energija, a privately-owned company that controls the western half of the country's power distribution grid. Leo LT will be created by merging the state-owned shares in the transmission system operator Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy) and the distribution grid operator Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) with NDX Energija's shares in VST. The government's resolution also provides that, at a later stage, a new share issue by Leo LT will be paid in the state-owned shares in Lietuvos Energija and RST. The Cabinet also authorized the Economy Ministry to represent the state in Leo LT's statutory meeting and to vote in favor of a share capital increase at its general meeting of shareholders.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Pieno Zvaigzde revised its profit and sales projecting
Pieno Zvaigzdes, one of the largest Lithuania's dairy companies, has revised 2008 profit and sales projecting down after posting losses for the first quarter of this year.
Full-year sales projections were cut to LTL 700 million from earlier projected LTL 750 million. The net profit margin forecast was revised down to 3 percent or LTL 21 million, from 4 percent or LTL 30 million. Pieno Zvaigzdes posted LTL 8.8 million in losses for the first three months of 2008, down from the net profit of LTL 2.6 million a year earlier. Three-month sales, however, rose by 5.8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 150.1 million.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 24th of April

Lithuanian Insurance reports net profit
Lithuania's largest non-life insurance company Lietuvos Draudimas (Lithuanian Insurance) reported on Wednesday an annual net profit of almost LTL 54 million for 2007, a rise of 30 percent from LTL 42 million the previous year. Lietuvos Draudimas said insurance premiums written increased by 36 percent last year to LTL 463 million, a faster growth rate than the rest of the market. The company's share of the non-life insurance market went up by 3 percentage points to 37 percent. The insurer said it paid out LTL 208 million in insurance claims last year, up by 47 percent compared with 2007, attributing this rise to an increase in car insurance claims and in repair costs, as well as rising property prices. Lietuvos Draudimas, which is 97 percent owned by the Danish insurer Codan, said it had around 500,000 private and business customers last year.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Svyturys-Utenos Alus aims to sell more in Ireland
Svyturys-Utenos Alus, the largest Lithuanian brewery controlled by Scandinavia's Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), aims to sell up to 1 million litres of its drinks in Ireland this year. Last year the company's sales in Ireland made up 520,000 litres, up 44 percent year-on-year. "Both large stores, such as EuroSpar, Dunnes Stores, Molloys, O'Donnovans, and smaller shops sell our beer in Ireland. All in all, it is available at 500 retail outlets," Eugenijus Petrosius, the head of Svyturys brewery, told the daily. Moreover, the drinks of the company are sold on tap at ten Irish pubs.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Lithuania is ranked 38th in terms of e-readiness
Lithuania moved up three notches to rank 38th out of 70 nations in the 2008 e-readiness report produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit in cooperation with the IBM Institute for Business Value. Lithuania was number 41 on the 2007 list, down from 38th position in 2006. While presenting the e-readiness report, Rimantas Vaitkus, the CEO of IBM Lietuva, said that Lithuania remained among medium scorers. "Lithuania has climbed three places over the past year, which is, of course, a good sign. However, we still have much to improve on, because the government's actions in this area have been largely limited to taking formal decisions. Electronic signature is an example," he said on Wednesday. In this year's rankings, Lithuania continues to lag behind the other two Baltic countries, with Estonia in 28th position and Latvia in 37th place, both unchanged from the previous year.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Wednesday, 23rd of April

Premia reveals figures
Premia, the largest ice-cream production and distribution group in the Baltics, said on Tuesday its first-quarter sales surged by 70 percent to LTL 36 million up from LTL 21.1 million a year earlier. Lithuania's Premia KPC (formerly Kauno Pieno Centras) posted a 22 percent increase in first-quarter sales to LTL 5.5 million, the company said. Arunas Kontautas, the CEO of Premia KPC, said the strong growth in the group's sales was largely due to the acquisition of Latvia's FFL last October.

Snoras bank posts profit
Lithuania's Snoras Bank on Tuesday posted a 23.1 percent rise in first-quarter net profit to LTL 16.93 million up from LTL 13.76 million a year earlier. Snoras' assets increased by 26.6 percent over the year to reach LTL 5.8 billion in late March. The bank's total loan portfolio soared by 92 percent to LTL 2.6 billion and deposits were up 26.6 percent to LTL 4.28 billion. "The first quarter of this year also marked the completion of a new stage of our expansion abroad: in March the bank opened its first foreign branch in Tallinn," Raimondas Baranauskas, Snoras' president and one of its two largest shareholders, said in a press release. "With more than a million customers, we can say that one in three people in Lithuania uses Snoras services," he said. Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Novaturas calls off trips to Egypt
Novaturas, the leading Lithuania's tour operator, has called off trips to Egypt scheduled for the summer season. Novaturas' representative has confirmed that its charter flights to Egypt have been cancelled from May 18 till September 25. The demand in trips to Egypt declines in summer, thus Novaturas' planes will be diverted to Turkey, Brigita Sabaliauskaite, Novaturas' marketing and PR director, has said. Meanwhile, Tez Tour, the main rival of Novaturas, sticks to initial plans to offer trips to Egypt in summer. "We stick to our plans and will offer trips to Egypt, just as planned. People buy packages for holidays in Turkey well in advance. Tickets for April, May and more than a half of June were sold off as early as in February. Meanwhile, now we are just completing the sale of tickets to Egypt for May. I may say that the tickets to Turkey are being snapped up. However, Egypt remains a very attractive destination," Martynas Laivys, Tez Tour Lietuva CEO, said. The positions of Tez Tour in Egypt were somewhat stronger than those of Novaturas, he said admitting that the latter company might have cancelled flights due to harsh competition.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Tuesday, 22nd of April

Internet users
Some 45 percent of the Lithuanian population were regular Internet users last year, giving the country a 17th place ranking among the 27 EU member states, according to a recent report by the European Commission. Lithuania's rate of regular Internet usage was six points below the EU average. The country lagged behind Latvia, in 12th place with 52 percent, and Estonia, in 10th place with 59 percent. Lithuania's broadband penetration reached 13.7 percent last year, compared with the EU27 average of 20 percent. The broadband penetration rate in Latvia was 15 percent, and in Estonia, it was 21.2 percent.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Furniture manufacturer Nabukas opens outlet in Denmark
Lithuania's kitchen and bathroom furniture manufacturer Nabukas this month opened a retail kitchen furniture outlet in the Danish city of Aarhus. Nabukas plans to open its outlets in Sweden and Ireland in the near future and in Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom by the end of this year, the company said in a press release on Monday. "The establishment of a retail network in Western Europe is our company's strategic objective, aimed at ensuring long-term export success," said Nabukas CEO Tomas Povilaika. The Vilnius-based company is part of the wood processing and furniture group Libra.
Lietuvos Rytas

Passengers in airports
A total of 523,100 passengers went through Lithuania's airports in the first quarter of this year, a rise of 22.9 percent compared with the year earlier, the Statistics Department reported on Monday. The largest number of passengers flew to and from the United Kingdom (74,800 passengers or 14.3 percent of the total number), Ireland (61,000 or 11.7 percent), Germany (56,900 or 10.9 percent), Egypt (52,800 or 10.1 percent) and Denmark (49,200 or 9.4 percent). Compared with January-March 2007, the number of passengers going to and from Egypt and Ireland soared by 62.4 percent and 44.4 percent, respectively.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 21st of April

General government deficit reached LTL 1.192
Lithuania's general government deficit in 2007 reached LTL 1.192 billion accounting for 1.2 percent of GDP, the Finance Ministry reported on Friday. The government deficit target for 2007 was set at 0.9 percent. Based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 95), the government deficit includes the state's financial commitments for later years, the ministry said. Last November, Lithuania passed a law that provides for paying part of old age and disability pensions to pensioners who worked in the period between 1995 and 2002. This commitment totals LTL 556 million, which accounts for 0.6 of GDP. Without this commitment, the 2007 general government deficit would have been 0.6 percent, or 0.3 percent below the projected level, the ministry said. The government deficit for 2006 accounted for 0.3 percent of GDP.

Vilnius Furniture presents figures
Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture), one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, sees its net profit soaring by 41.5 percent, to LTL 5.8 million this year, from LTL 4.1 million in 2007. EBITDA should increase to LTL 19.96 million, from LTL 14.9 million last year, while the sales should expand by 31.8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 199.5 million, the company said in its 2007 report. Vilniaus Baldai posted LTL 4.135 million in audited net profit for full 2007, staging an impressive turnaround versus the year-earlier losses of LTL 4.33 million. The net profit of the whole group came in at LTL 1.799 million, as against the losses of LTL 5.317 million in 2006.
Verslo Zinios

Akmene Cement doubled its net profit
Lithuania's only cement manufacturer Akmenes Cementas (Akmene Cement) said on Friday its annual net profit more than doubled to LTL 54 million last year, up from LTL 25.1 million in 2006. Akmenes Cementas' shareholders voted on Friday to set aside LTL 2.4 million for dividend and remuneration purposes. The remaining profit will go to finance the company's modernization project, which got underway earlier this year and is to be completed by 2011, it said.
Verslo Zinios

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