Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 26.2008

Saturday, 28th of June

Praises to Lithuania
Dalia Grybauskaite, the European commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget, praised Lithuania for its progress in absorbing EU money, but warned that it could lose funding in some areas. "I am glad to say that the progress is obvious. Time is pressing, and some areas, which remain slow to use EU funds, risk losing the financial support offered by the EU," Grybauskaite said in a press release. She said the country would not only lose millions in unspent funds but would also weaken its positions in negotiations with the EU over future financing. Lithuania last year received LTL 3.604 billion in financial support from the EU's funds, of which LTL 1.668 billion, or 46 percent, went to agriculture and LTL 1.607 billion, or 45 percent, to cohesion and structural measures. Total payments to the country in 2004 through 2007 reached LTL 10.347 billion.
Kauno Diena, Republika

Lithuanians spend less abroad
Lithuanian residents spent a total of LTL 683.7 million while travelling abroad in the first quarter of this year, down by 8.8 percent year-on-year, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. The number of people who travelled abroad fell by 3.2 percent over the reporting period to 265,900, based on the preliminary results of an outgoing tourism survey conducted by the department. Year-on-year, spending on holiday and leisure trips abroad decreased by 8.9 percent to LTL 458.9 million and spending on business trips was down 8.7 percent to LTL 224.7 million.
Lietuvos Rytas

Construction prices jump up
Construction prices in Lithuania jumped by 12.3 percent in May compared with the same period a year ago, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. Construction costs rose by 1.1 percent in May versus April. Month-on-month, the costs of engineering structures rose by 1.3 percent, residential construction costs by 1.1 percent and non-residential construction costs by 1 percent. The annual growth rates were 12.8 percent, 13.3 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.
Lietuvos Rytas

Friday, 27th of June

Discussion about Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas expects the European Union to take final decisions on whether to allow Lithuania to operate its Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) beyond its scheduled closure date in late 2009. The decommissioning of the Soviet-era Ignalina plant was a condition for Lithuania's entry into the European Union in 2004. "Final decisions may be taken in the fall. I don't think we have much time," Kirkilas said. He said that Lithuania was providing the European Commission with all information about the anticipated consequences of the shutdown and expected to begin talks on this issue in the near future. "I am speaking to the prime ministers of all countries and asking them if they would support (Lithuania's position). President Valdas Adamkus does the same at the European Council. I can say that today a bigger part of the Council members understand us and would support us," Kirkilas said. Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Prices for heating rise in Vilnius
The Lithuanian National Commission for Prices and Energy on Thursday unilaterally set a 53 percent higher heating price for consumers in Vilnius. The price for district heating is set to rise to 22.56 Lithuanian centas per kilowatt-hour (kWh), excluding VAT, starting August 1, up by 52.8 percent from the current 14.76 centas. Vilniaus Energija (Vilnius Energy), a local subsidiary of the French energy group Dalkia, sought a 56 percent increase in the price to 22.75 centas per kWh, citing soaring fuel costs. The price commission set the new price in spite of Wednesday's decision by the City Council of Vilnius to increase the district-heating price by 10 percent to 16.451 centas per kWh. City officials have said that the municipality will consider going to court or canceling its agreement with Dalkia if the price regulator takes a unilateral decision on the heating price.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

No crisis in Lithuania, the Prime Minister says
Lithuania Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas repeated on Thursday that there was no economic crisis in the country. "One needs a crisis plan when there is a crisis. Since there is no crisis... You might want it, but there is no crisis," Kirkilas said during the so-called "Government Hour" at the parliament. He said that the country could have had a balanced budget in 2008 if the parliament had not approved increased spending. Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius said that the government had passed a resolution requiring that public institutions reduce their spending estimates for 2009 by 5 percent from those in 2008 when planning their budgets for the next year.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 26th of June

Predictions about energy link between Lithuania and Poland
A 237-million-euro energy link between Lithuania and Poland could become operational in 2013, but it is not clear yet when this line will actually connect Lithuania to the Western European grid. That will require expanding the electricity networks of Lithuania and Poland, which will cost another 700 million euros, including 600 million euros for work on Poland's territory. A feasibility study, which is expected to be ready by next spring, should answer the questions of when the so-called "energy bridge" could be built and how much it would cost, the heads of LitPol Link, a Lithuanian-Polish joint venture in charge of the project, said in Vilnius on Wednesday. It will take around three years after obtaining all necessary permits to build the electrical line, Wladyslaw Mielczarski, the chairman of LitPol Link's supervisory board, said at a news conference, adding that preparatory work should be completed in 2010. "A major part of the work is to enhance the (electricity) networks both in Poland and Lithuania. Lithuania will need 90 million to 100 million euros for this purpose and it is luckier in that it can use money from the Ignalina (Nuclear Power Plant) decommissioning fund," Mielczarski said.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios

Industrial output and sales rise
Lithuania's industrial output and sales rose by 8 percent in the first five months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, the Statistics Department reported on Wednesday. Year-on-year, the mining and quarrying sector and the manufacturing sector grew by 9.5 percent. Excluding oil products from the overall figure, the growth was 1.1 percent, it said. Electricity, gas and water supplies decreased by 0.5 percent over the reporting period. In May, the country's total industrial production increased by an annual 3.1 percent. The mining and quarrying sector and the manufacturing sector grew by 3.5 percent, but excluding oil products, sales were down by 7 percent.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Lithuanians are still optimistic about their lives
Lithuanians are rather optimistic about their life and their household finances for the next 12 months, but believe that the economic situation in the country will deteriorate and are concerned about rising prices, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.
As much as 76 percent of the Lithuanian population expect that their lives in general will improve in the next 12 months or will remain the same. The percentage of those expecting an improvement rose to 37 percent, up from 34 percent last fall. Some 21 percent expect that their lives worsen. Some 41 percent of the population expect that the economic situation in the country will deteriorate in the coming months and 23 percent anticipate an improvement. Despite the low expectations concerning the national economy, 34 percent of the population expect the financial situation of their households to improve within the twelve-month period and 43 percent think that it will remain the same.
Verslo Zinos

Wednesday, 25th of June

MMS still lag behind in Lithuania
The number of text messages (SMS) sent from Lithuanian mobile communications networks rose by 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier to reach 2.604 billion. The number of multi-media messages (MMS) fell by an annual 6.3 percent to 1.01 million. Year-on-year, mobile operators' first-quarter revenue from SMS services dropped by 3.9 percent to LTL 34.7 million while revenue from MMS services soared by 46 percent to LTL 336,000.
Verslo Zinios

Vilnius Furniture posts losses
Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture), one of Lithuania's leading furniture manufacturers, posted on Friday a net loss of LTL 2.025 million for the first five months of this year, compared with a net profit of LTL 428,000 a year earlier. The net loss in May was LTL 147,000, versus a net profit of LTL 148,000 in the same month last year Sales for January through May fell by 11 percent year-on-year to LTL 53.593 million. In May alone, sales plunged by an annual 22.9 percent to LTL 10.832 million.
Verslo Zinios

Vilnius airport expansion plans
Government’s Strategic Planning Committee will discuss the possible expansion of Vilnius International Airport on June 25. The Committee will consider the expansion of Vilnius International Airport in order to make both the airport and the national carrier flyLAL, a rival of Latvian AirBaltic, competitive. flyLAL group is ready to invest LTL 120 million into the new terminal and introduce 8 additional destinations, each of them would be subsidized for the first three years by the carrier. The Airport and flyLAL signed lease agreement of land under the new terminal, however, the representatives of flyLAL note that it is still early to comment on the new agreement, as it is not enough since permission to renovate the buildings controlled by flyLAL Group in the territory of the airport must be obtained.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 24th of June
State Holidays.

Monday, 23rd of June

Lithuanian Railways posted figures
Lithuania's national railway company Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) posted an annual rise of 11.2 percent to 24 million tons in freight traffic for the first five months of this year, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. Year-on-year, international freight volumes grew by 3.8 percent to 17.9 million tons and
domestic freight traffic increased by 40.5 percent to 6.1 million tons, it said. Transit shipments increased by 0.4 percent and accounted for 47.2 percent of the total international freight traffic.

Gubernija presented figures
Gubernija, a major Lithuanian beer producer, said on Friday that its losses the first four months of this year fell by 26.5 percent year-on-year to LTL 2.079 million. The company, which is controlled by Vitas Tomkus, the publisher of the Respublika daily newspaper, said it aims to achieve annual sales of LTL 50 million in view of increasing soft drink production and rising exports to third countries. It posted sales of LTL 50.5 million last year. Gubernija expects to trim annual losses to LTL 3.5 million this year, down from LTL 6.13 million in 2007. It had LTL 16.474 million in accrued losses at the start of this year.
Kauno Diena

Cooperation between Lithuania and Uzbekistan
Lithuania and Uzbekistan are going to cooperate in transit encouragement sphere while creating logistics system Baltics – Uzbekistan – China route. It is intended to use Klaipeda Port to carry Uzbekistan cargos to the Western European counties and developing the route of the train “Viking” to the Mid Asia. The Lithuanian Communication Vice Minister, Ceslovas Siksnelis, and Akmalas Kamalovas, first deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Uzbekistan, had a meeting last week in Tashkent, where they discussed the cooperation issues. The both sides signed an agreement on the economic cooperation; the Lithuanian representative has also invited Uzbekistan companies to arrive to the exhibition Baltic Textile and Leather, which will take place in September in Vilnius.

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