Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 19.2008

Saturday, 10th of May

FlyLAL carries 55.600 passengers during first months
Lithuania's flagship carrier FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines carried 55,600 passengers from Vilnius in the first four months of this year, up more than 32 percent versus the year-earlier figure. In April alone the company's passenger traffic from Vilnius soared by 69 percent, year-on-year, to 21,800. The company claims to retain the lead at the Vilnius airport. Overall passenger traffic of the company, i.e. including flights from other airports, rose by almost 70 percent in April, year-on-year.

VST once again forgoes dividends
The board of VST, the operator of the western part of Lithuania's power grid controlled by private-equity NDX Energija, has proposed once again to forgo dividends for 2007. However, the final decision, which might be opposite to what is proposed by the board, will be taken at the general shareholders meeting due on June 13. A repeated meeting of VST shareholders, which was to decide on the distribution of 2007 profit, failed to take place as scheduled late in April. According to unofficial sources, the meeting was called off since NDX Energija, which is a private equity partner of the government in the establishment of Leo LT, decided to wait whether the deal on the setting up of the national investor company would be finalized.
Kauno Diena, Respublika

Stumbras buys a plot of land for a new plant
Stumbras, one of Lithuania's largest strong alcoholic beverage producers, last year purchased a plot of land close to Kaunas for around LTL 11 million as part of its plans to move production out of the center of the city. Pre-project work is underway on the 8.7-hectare plot of land, which is close to the Via Baltica highway, Darius Mockus, the president of MG Baltic, which owns Stumbras, said in a news conference on Friday. "Relocation is not an end in itself. It has to be economically viable. We link it with sales volumes and an economic benefit," said Mockus. The new plant would be built in a logistically convenient location, from which beverages would be exported to Poland, Stumbras' strategic export market, he said.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Friday, 9th of May

Unemployment rate in Lithuania
Lithuania's unemployment rate dipped by 0.1 percentage point versus March, to 4.6 percent in Lithuania in April, the Labor Exchange reported on Thursday. Compared with April 2007, the jobless rate also shrank by 0.1 percentage point. A total of 97,500 people were registered unemployed at the end of April, of which 56.5 percent were women and 43.5 percent were men. As of May 1, the number of jobseekers was the largest in the municipalities of Druskininkai (9.5 percent), Akmene (8.9 percent) and Jurbarkas (8.7 percent).
Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena

Taxpayers submit a lot of income tax declarations
Lithuania's taxpayers have submitted more than 844,000 income tax declarations for 2007 asking to refund a total of about LTL 400 million in overpaid taxes, the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) has reported citing preliminary data. About 530,000 taxpayers who have filled in their declarations properly and submitted the documents online, have already recovered more than LTL 323 million in overpaid taxes, which is almost equal to the total refund paid last year. "New options, which have been introduced this year, have encouraged the use of e-declaration system - about 88 percent of income tax and property declarations have been submitted online, up from 75 percent last year," Dainius Daugirda, VMI deputy head, said in a statement.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

SEB bank is the best in Lithuania
The international Global Finance magazine has declared SEB Bankas, the largest Lithuania's commercial bank, the best in Lithuania for the tenth year in a row in its 2008 review for Central and Eastern European banking sector. RZB and Raiffeisen International has been declared the best bank in Eastern and Central Europe. The criteria used for the assessment of financial institutions include the growth of assets, profit margins, strategic partnership relations, customer service quality, competitive pricing policy and services innovations. Global Finance has some 50,000 subscribers and over 280,000 readers, mostly executives and finance experts, in 158 countries.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 8th of May

Executives are paid more than common employees
Executives were paid seven times higher than common employees in Lithuania in 2007, putting the country at the 19th place among 61 countries in terms of pay gap.
The smallest gaps were in Norway (2.3 times), Canada and Switzerland (2.6 times each), the study by the international consultancy Hay Group has shown. In Latvia and Estonia the gaps were 5.4 times and 4.7 times, respectively. Compared with 2006, the pay gap in Lithuania increased last year, with the country moving to 19th place, from the 20th in the 2006 ranking. Latvia declined to 30th place, from 31st, while Estonia dropped to 35th place. The largest pay gaps were in China (11.8 times), Thailand (10.7 times) and Vietnam (9.8 times) in 2007.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Lithuanians more optimistic than Latvian and Estonians
Lithuanian residents expect to live more luxurious lives in retirement than Latvians and Estonians do, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday. A third, or 30.8 percent, of working Lithuanians expect to spend as much, or more, in retirement as they do while working, compared with 26.7 percent of Latvians and 29 percent of Estonians, according to the poll conducted for the life insurance company Sampo Life. Some 37.8 percent of those polled in Lithuanian expect to spend less or much less in retirement, compared with 48.5 percent in Latvia and 55.3 percent in Estonia. Lithuania's Vilmorus, Latvian Facts and Estonia's Turu-uuringute polled 1,000 people in each country.

Increase of organic grain purchases
Lithuania recorded an increase in organic grain purchases last year, according to data from the Agricultural Information and Rural Business Center. Year-on-year, organic wheat purchases rose by 20 percent to 1,098 tons, organic rye purchases by 30.3 percent to 1,300 tons and organic triticale purchases by 77.4 percent to 385 tons. Organic oat purchases declined by 28.3 percent last year to 46 tons and organic barley purchases were down 60 percent to 120 tons.
Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 7th of May

Apranga group posts figures
Apranga group, the operator of the largest Baltic clothes retail chain controlled by MG Baltic concern, posted LTL 160.5 million in sales for the first four months of 2008, up 31.5 percent year-on-year. In Lithuania alone, the sales of the chain rose by 32.8 percent, to LTL 107.6 million, in Latvia - by 33.9 percent, to LTL 38.9 million, and in Estonia - by 24.4 percent, to LTL 14 million, Apranga said in a statement. In April alone the sales of the retailer grew by 28.8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 39 million (plus VAT). In Lithuania alone, the sales grew by 28.4 percent, in Latvia and Estonia - by 28 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively. Apranga group currently runs a Baltic chain of 86 outlets, including 57 stores in Lithuania, 24 in Latvia and 5 in Estonia.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant generated more electricity
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) generated 3.896 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity during the first four months of this year; up 2.8 percent from 3.789 billion kWh it produced a year ago. Electricity sales for the four months rose by 2.9 percent year-on-year to 3.605 billion kWh, the Ignalina plant's director, Viktor Shevaldin, said on Tuesday. In April alone, the plant's electricity output declined by 3 percent year-on-year to 949 million kWh and sales were down 3.1 percent to 878 million kWh, he said. "The power plant is operating as normal. Its current capacity is around 1,300 megawatts," said Shevaldin. Last year the INPP's annual electricity sales increased by 13.9 percent to 9.4 billion kWh, with production up 13.3 percent to 9.8 billion kWh. This year electricity output is expected to fall to 9.2 billion kWh and sales to 8.5 billion kWh.
Verslo Zinios

Not enough of signatures
An initiative group seeking cancellation of the Nuclear Power Plant Law, legitimizing establishment of the national investor company Leo LT, failed to collect 50,000 signatures of citizens supporting the quest. As representative of the initiative group Arturas Racas told the press Tuesday, a total of around 50,000 signatures were in fact collected, however about 20,000 of them are not confirmed with identification codes, as envisaged by law, therefore they will probably be deemed invalid. Members of the group criticize the inclusion of private investor - NDX Energija operated by the VP group - into the project without competition. The group says that NDX Energija will have all opportunities to make profit even without contributing to the construction of a new nuclear plant or energy links with Poland and Sweden, as the contracts between the government and the private investor stipulate a possibility for NDX Energija to withdraw from the project in two years. In their words, the 38.3-percent stake in Leo LT guarantees NDX Energija an asset of LTL 2.7 billion, which would have to be covered by the government or the next investor in case of the company's exit. Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Tuesday, 6th of May

New hotel in Kaunas
New economy class hotel should appear near Kaunas buss station in November, the new hotel hopes to receive three-star rating. The operator of the future hotel is going to be the company Inkontas that is controlled by Achema Group. Achema group invests about LTL 15 million into the reconstruction of the building, which used to be the premises of the publishing house Ausra. The operator of the hotel has previously consulted with different tourism agencies, the Tourism Information Centre and Kaunas Municipality about accommodation situation in Kaunas and it was decided that Kaunas lacks economy class hotels the most. The representatives of tourism agencies note that the place of the hotel is very suitable as it is near the bus station. The operator of the hotel states that there should be 82 double rooms in the hotel, the owners have not decided on the name for the hotel yet.
Verslo Zinios

Snoras bank’s profit
The daily Verslo Zinios reports that Snoras Group which consists of Snoras banks and Latvijas Kr?jbanka, and 11 subsidiaries in Lithuania and Latvia, have earned LTL 64.51 million of net profit during the first quarter of this year, it was by 3.6 times more than last year during the same period. The shares of Spyker Cars, sports cars producer, which were obtained by Snoras group at the end of 2007, have also affected the growth of the net profit, as the value of shares have been increasing too.
Verslo Zinios

PKN Orlen has a new President
The company PKN Orlen which controls Mazeikiu Nafta has its new president already, the current vice president of the company Wojciech Heydel was appointed to the position lately. The supervisory board of PKN Orlen elected Heydel for three years tenure and he will officially start working as the president of PKN Orlen group from June 7. The new board has also been appointed for PKN Orlen, it sill start operating after the shareholders’ meeting which will take place on June 6.
Kauno Diena

Monday, 5th of May

State Holiday.

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