Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 25.2008

Saturday, 21st of June

Less bankruptcies
A total of 606 companies in Lithuania were declared bankrupt last year, down by 20.2 percent from 759 bankruptcies in 2006, the Statistics Department reported on Friday.
Small firms with up to 10 employees accounted for as much as 92.1 percent of all bankruptcies. There were no bankruptcies among large companies with 250 and more employees last year, compared with two bankruptcies in 2006. The biggest declines in the number of bankruptcies last year were recorded in the financial intermediation sector, 60 percent, and in the hotel and restaurant industry, 33.3 percent. The number of bankruptcies among real estate and lease companies, meanwhile, soared by 61.5 percent, the department said.
Kauno Diena

Snoras wins the court
Snoras said on Friday that after four years of litigation, last year it won a court victory against Egypt's Nawar International Trading & Agency Co, which had claimed 5 million US dollars from the Lithuanian bank. The Vilnius Regional Court rejected this claim last September after Snoras had proved to the court that it had never obligated itself to pay this amount of money to the Egyptian firm, the bank said in a statement. The Egyptian firm claimed the money in 2003 based on what Snoras said was a forged letter of guarantee. Criminal proceedings were instituted on suspicion of forgery. The bank said in the prospectus for its LTL 300 million-bond offering, which was approved by the Securities Commission last week that the litigation was still ongoing.
Kauno Diena

More air passengers
A total of 976,700 passengers went through Lithuania's airports during the first five months of this year, a rise of 24.4 percent on the same time last year, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. The largest numbers of passengers flew to and from the United Kingdom (135,400 passengers or 13.9 percent of the total number), Germany (103,100 or 10.6 percent), Ireland (101,000 or 10.3 percent), Denmark (89,700 or 9.2 percent) and Egypt (72,900 or 7.5 percent), it said. The total volume of freight and mail handled at Lithuania's airports fell by 36.3 percent over the reporting period to 4,000 tons.

Friday, 20th of June

Maxima Group’s plans
Maxima Group, the operator of the largest retail chain in the Baltics, this year is targeting a 32.5 percent growth in annual sales to LTL 10.852 billion. Maxima has raised its sales growth target based on its expansion plans, according to a company publication, Sekmes Metai. The group said earlier that it was projecting a rise of 20 percent in sales to LTL 9.8 billion. This year Maxima is looking to consolidate sales of non-food products and services, continue expanding its chain in its existing markets and enter new markets, according to the publication.
Kauno Diena

Fine for Tez Tour
The Lithuanian Competition Council on Thursday imposed a fine of LTL 30,000 the Turkish-owned international tour operator Tez Tour for a misleading advertisement of an Egyptian hotel. Tez Tour said it categorically disagreed with this sanction and would appeal the decision to a court. The company's lawyer, Edmundas Rusinas, said that the competition watchdog's decision was hard to explain logically. "There is not the slightest doubt that this decision will be appealed.,” he said. Tez Tour advertised the Sultan Beach hotel close to Hurgada as a 3 plus hotel under international standards and a four star hotel under local standards. However, it was established that the real category of the hotel was lower than indicated in the advertisement.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Japanese interested in Lithuania
Representatives from Mitsubishi, Toyota Tsusho, Itochu and other big Japanese corporations are visiting Lithuania this week. The Japanese business delegation on Thursday and Friday is meeting with the country's major textile companies, the Lithuanian Development Agency (LDA) said. "This is the first visit to Lithuania by such solid Japanese companies. Representatives of these trade corporations make strategic decisions," LDA Director General Titas Andriuskevicius said in a press release. "This is an opportunity for us to introduce them to Lithuania's industry, to our products and services, as well as to establish new contracts with potential business partners," he said.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 19th of June

Dalia Grybauskaite is coming to Lithuania
Dalia Grybauskaite, the European commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget, is to visit her native Lithuania this week and next week. Grybauskaite plans to discuss with Lithuanian officials issues related to the EU's financial assistance and budget reform during her visit to Vilnius on June 19 through 26, the European Commission Representation in Lithuania said on Wednesday. Other issues on the agenda include the results of the European Council and the process of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, as well as cooperation between the European Commission and the Seimas.

New premises in Brussels
Funds for new premises in Brussels are already in the planning in Lithuania, as the number of employees in the country's Permanent Representation to the European Union (EU) in Brussels is expected to double in the course of preparation for EU presidency. "Temporarily, for the half year period, the number of our experts, diplomats and those specializing in various domains would increase in Brussels to 180 - the workforce that would be required. Observing the presidency of nations of a similar size, we have come to a conclusion that a decision of creating additional premises is needed", Foreign Affairs Minister Petras Vaitiekunas commented on the governmental Strategic Planning Committee's decision to purchase a new building.
Lietuvos Zinios

New regulations by the EU
After the greater part of the Euro Parliamentarians has approved the new regulation, which aims separation of electricity production, transmission and distribution spheres on Wednesday. The Euro Parliamentarian, Sarunas Birutis, thinks that the recently established Leo LT company would not correspond to the new regulations of the EU from now on. Leo LT merged the power grid companies RST and VST, which are distribution networks, with Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), which controls transmission networks, The European Commission does not support vertical management monopolies which control production, infrastructure and supply for consumers. The European Union Council will consider the new regulation soon. Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Wednesday, 18th of June

Profits of Lithuanian companies
Lithuanian companies posted LTL 2.5 billion in aggregate pre-tax profits for the first quarter of this year, 1 percent higher than a year earlier but around 50 percent lower than a quarter ago, the Statistics Department reported on Tuesday. Their combined revenues for the first quarter rose by 28 percent year-on-year to LTL 48.2 billion. That was down by almost 6 percent compared with the fourth quarter of last year, it said. Year-on-year, first-quarter profits in the construction sector slumped down by 90 percent, in wholesale and retail trade, by 70 percent, and in the real estate and lease sector, by 57 percent. Profits in the post and telecommunications sector increased almost four-fold. Energy and transport companies posted a rise of more than 40 percent in profits, and manufacturing companies raised profits by one-fourth.
Lietuvos Rytas

Current account deficit widens
Lithuania's current account deficit widened by 16.4 percent in the first four months of this year from a year earlier to reach LTL 4.76 billion the central bank reported on Tuesday. The deficit narrowed by 13.2 percent in April compared with March to LTL 1.2 billion. The narrowing of the deficit in April was due mainly to decreases of LTL 424.9 million in the foreign trade balance deficit and of LTL 92.1 million in the balance of payments deficit, the Bank of Lithuania said.
Verslo Zinios

Agrowill Group intends increasing its authorized share capital
Agrowill Group, Lithuania's largest agricultural investment and development company, intends to increase its authorized share capital by 15 percent, to LTL 30.064 million from LTL 26.143 million. Agrowill Group plans to issue 3.912 million new shares with a nominal value of LTL 1 each. The minimum issue price will be LTL 5.80 a share, the company said on Tuesday. The company's shareholders will be asked to approve the planned share capital increased at an extraordinary meeting to be held on Jul. 21. The company proposes that its largest single shareholder, ZIA Valda, be given the preemptive right to purchase two-thirds of the new issue, with the remaining shares to be made available to the public.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 17th of June

City Service signs a contract with Latvia
Riga City Service, a subsidiary of City Service, the Baltics' leading property maintenance and management services provider, has signed a contract to maintain Latvia's two largest residential skyscrapers, the 30 and 25-story Panorama Plaza complex in Riga. The company has also inked a contract with Lithuania's Hanner, which is building the Jauna Teika residential neighbourhood in the Latvian capital, City Service said in a press release on Monday. Hanner is a strategic partner of City Service. The new contract expands their strategic partnership outside Lithuania, it said. The two new contracts have added more than 50,000 square meters to the total area of buildings serviced by Riga City Service, which currently amounts to around 150,000 square meters.

Stumbras revenues fall
Stumbras, Lithuania's largest strong alcoholic beverage producer, said on Monday that its sales revenue for the first five months of this year fell by 0.8 percent from a year earlier to LTL 54.4 million. Monthly revenue for February declined by 4.4 percent year-on-year to LTL 12.88 million, the Kaunas-based company reported to the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE). Stumbras is projecting around LTL 33.1 million in pre-tax profit for the full year 2008, down 19.5 percent from LTL 41.1 million last year. It expects to achieve LTL 147.9 million in annual revenue and plans to invest around LTL 5 million in production modernization. The company's annual net profit soared by 76.9 percent to LTL 32.767 million last year as revenue jumped by 65.3 percent to LTL 168.511 million.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Mazeikiai Oil was shut down
Lithuania's sole crude refinery, Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), was shut down on Monday afternoon after lightning disrupted electricity and steam supplies to the plant. The refinery was forced into an emergency shutdown for the first time in its history. Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said that a bolt of lightning had apparently hit a transformer owned by the Mazeikiu Power Plant, which supplies electricity and steam to the refinery. Speaking two hours after the shutdown, the minister said that what was the most important at the moment was to find out the exact causes of the accident. The State Energy Inspectorate has appointed a special commission to look into the causes of the supply disruption.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Monday, 16th of June

Limarko Shipping Company closes the placement of new shares
Lithuania's private-equity Limarko Shipping Company closed the placement of new LTL 10.945 million face value share issue with 10.762 million shares, each with per value of LTL 1, subscribed and paid up. The investors paid LTL 10.76 million for the shares. A share of issue remained unsold. With the issue placed, the authorized capital of the Klaipeda-based company has grown to LTL 120.213 million, from LTL 109.45 million late in December.

Cigarettes consumption grows
Annual per capita cigarette consumption in Lithuania reached 61 packs last year, up from 60 packs in 2006, preliminary data from the Statistics Department showed on Friday Cigarette consumption per persons aged 15 or over increased to 73 packs from 72 packs, it said. Retail tobacco product sales in the country jumped by 29.6 percent last year to LTL 772.1 million. Retail prices of tobacco products rose by 5.2 percent as a result of a hike in the excise duty effective from March 1, 2007.
Verslo Zinios

Development program of Klaipeda Port
The costs of Klaipeda Port investment program will far exceed the amount allocated for the development of the port's infrastructure amid continuous growth in construction costs and expansion of the port's development projects. The costs of 2007-2013 investment program of the port of Klaipeda are to surge to LTL 1.5 billion from original LTL 750 million. The resources allocated by the European Union (EU) funds should comprise a significant part of total funding. The costs of construction works soared by some 40 percent from 2004, the news portal quoted Sigitas Dobilinskas, CEO of Klaipeda State Seaport Authority, as saying at a news conference on Friday.
Verslo Zinios

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