Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 27.2008

Saturday, 5th of July

New ship for Limarko
Lithuania's private-equity Limarko Shipping Company has acquired a container ship EWL West Indies, the largest ever container ship on Lithuania's Ships Register.
The ship built in China in 2006 has been taken over at the port of Rotterdam. "This motor vessel suits for transatlantic shipping of cargo perfectly. The ship was put on routes between Caribbean countries and Europe immediately after the takeover. The ship retains its name due to contractual terms," Vytautas Lygnugaris, Limarko Shipping president, said in a statement. The 148-meters long ship may carry 1,080 20-ft dry cargo containers. Limarko Shipping acquired 10 motor vessels in last four years and now runs a fleet of 16 ships. Limarko owns 90.62 percent of the shipping company. The customers of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken hold a 5.74 percent stake with the remaining 3.64 percent controlled by small shareholders.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas

Bankruptcy for Linas
The Panevezys Regional Court has ruled to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against Lino Audiniai, the loss-making textiles producer, which have seen its business crumble in face of ever growing competition with Asian manufacturers. Lino Audiniai earlier said that the bankruptcy would see more than 400 employees dismissed. About 500 employees would be moved to other subsidiaries of Linas group, i.e. Lino Apdaila and Lino Aptarnavimas. Lino Audiniai is the second largest Panevezys company after picture tube producer Ekranas to go bankrupt of lately.
Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Favouring rich ones
The majority of Lithuanians believe that the economic policy implemented by Social Democrat Gediminas Kirkilas-led government favors the rich and business, with meagre 6 percent considering it favorable for the whole population, a RAIT poll has shown. According to the poll commissioned by BNS, some 54 percent of those polled claimed that the economic policy of the Cabinet was favorable for the rich. About 44 percent believe that the economic policy benefits large-scale business. About one-fifth or 20 percent consider the economic policy advantageous for public establishments. Some 13 percent see the current economic policy of the Cabinet favoring no one. The public opinion and market research company RAIT polled 1,043 people on Jun 5-16.
Kauno Diena

Friday, 4th of July

FlyLAL Group intends to purchase Baltic Ground Services
Lithuania's aviation business group FlyLAL Group is set to purchase Baltic Ground Services from the investment company Invalda. FlyLAL Group Services said on Thursday that it would buy 100 percent of shares in the ground services firm from Invalda. FlyLAL Group Services expects that this acquisition will enable it to offer a full range of aviation services and will increase the company's value. "The acquisition of Baltic Ground Services will allow the company to offer ground services to airlines in addition to its pilot and flight attendant training, aircraft technical maintenance and ticket sales services," FlyLAL Group Services CEO Linas Dovydenas said in a press release.

Lithuania spend about LTL 100 on leisure-time services
Residents of Lithuania's five major cities and towns, aged between 16 and 50, spend around LTL 100 on leisure-time services per capita monthly, a TNS Gallup survey showed on Thursday. The country's total leisure services market amounts to LTL 676 million annually. The capital of Vilnius accounts for more than half of the spending, about LTL 320 million, according to the survey, conducted for the entertainment business group Seven Entertainment in the first half of this year. Lithuania's residents use six different services monthly on average. They spend the largest sums of money in bars and cafes, sports and bowling clubs, and movie theatres, the survey showed.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Ratings for SEB bank
The international rating agency Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook of Lithuania's SEB Bankas and Sweden's SEB (Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken), its parent bank, down to Stable, from Positive. "The revision of Outlook back to Stable is based on the expected continued deterioration in capital markets and investment banking, as well as a more challenging economic environment, particularly in the Baltics. As a result, earnings performance is likely to be more volatile and immediate upward pressure on the ratings is reduced", Fitch statement quoted Alexandre Birry, Director in Fitch's Financial Institutions group, as saying. The agency has also affirmed SEB Bankas' ratings at Long-term IDR 'A', Short-term IDR 'F1', Support '1' and Individual 'C'.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 3rd of July

US and Lithuania cooperation
Lithuania's Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, on a visit to the US, has invited US businessmen to invest in Lithuania with observers admitting that the project of new nuclear power plant, which Lithuania aims to build in concert with neighboring countries, may attract US energy giants General Electric and Westinghouse.
Kirkilas met with the executives of Westinghouse in Washington to discuss the nuclear projects being implemented by the energy concern all across the world, the government press service said in a statement. Lithuania intends to build a new nuclear power plant in cooperation with Poland, Latvia and Estonia. The plant's environmental impact assessment (EIA), which will predetermine the capacity of new facility, will be completed in August.
Verslo Zinios

Snaige increases the authorized share capital in Kaliningrad
Snaige, the only refrigerator manufacturer in the Baltics, said on Wednesday that it had decided to increase the authorized share capital of its Kaliningrad subsidiary, Techprominvest, by LTL 55.197 million through debt capitalization. The plant in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad owes LTL 22.44 million for long-term assets purchased from Snaige, is sole shareholder, and LTL 32.197 million in loans from the parent company. The group posted LTL 7.874 million in consolidated losses for the first quarter of this year, on revenue of LTL 78 million.
Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian public broadcaster posts figures
Lithuania's public broadcaster Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) posted LTL 2.947 million in net profit for full 2007. Staging an impressive turnaround versus the year-earlier losses of LTL 1.248 million. LRT last reported full-year net profit, at LTL 1.24 million, back in 2004. In 2007 the revenues of the public broadcaster totaled LTL 82.645 million, 37.8 percent of which were revenues on commercial activities, LRT said in its 2007 statement.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 2nd of July

Export of grain grows
Lithuania exported 60,897 tons of grain in May, up almost four times versus the year-earlier figure, the Agriculture Information and Rural Business Development Centre reported on Tuesday. Grain imports, meanwhile, shrank by 12.6 percent, year-on-year, to 7,300 tons. Wheat comprised the largest chunk of both grain exports and imports. In May the country exported 45,784 tons of wheat to Latvia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, Morocco and the Faroes. Wheat imports - from Latvia and UK - totaled 6,200 tons in the reporting period.

Insurance market expands
Lithuania's insurance market, including the branches of foreign insurers, grew by 9.9 percent in the first five months of this year versus the year earlier, to reach LTL 859.721 million, the Insurance Supervisory Commission (DPK) reported on Tuesday. Non-life insurance segment, as measured by premiums written, expanded by 18.6 percent, to LTL 636.898 million, while the life insurance segment shrank by 9.2 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 293.931 million in January-May. Non-life insurance accounted for 74.1 percent of all premiums written, up from 68.6 percent in January-May 2007. The share of life insurance shrank to 25.9 percent, from 31.4 percent a year earlier. The insurers concluded 1.936 million insurance contracts in January-May, down 1.9 percent year-on-year.
Lietuvos Rytas

Agrowill Group moves to Moldova
Agrowill Group, Lithuania's largest agricultural investment company, has launched the process of registration of a subsidiary in Moldova, in which it plans to purchase up to 5,000 hectares of highly-fertile land over the next two years. The company plans to develop plant growing and milk farming on the purchased land in Moldova, Agrowill Group said in a press release on Tuesday. "Our calculations and observations show that with our experience and advanced management methods, we can expect to achieve even better results in the fertile Black Earth region in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova than in Lithuania," said Robertas Cepaitis, the head of the Expansion Department at Agrowill Group. The company is currently exploring possibilities for acquiring as many as three plant-growing businesses in Russia.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 1st of July

New managing director of Ranga Group
Ramunas Saucikovas, the CEO of TV3, is quitting his job at the TV station in order to join Ranga Group, one of the country's biggest construction and real estate investment groups. Saucikovas, 35, is to take up his new position as managing director of Ranga Group in August. "Life has offered me a new opportunity. I am keen to take it up and try myself in a new field. This week I will wrap up my work at TV3. I will take some rest in July and then start my job at Ranga," he said on Monday. Managing director is a new position at the company. Ranga Group President Laimutis Pinkevicius, who is also one of the main shareholders of the company, will continue in this position. Laura Blazeviciute, the deputy CEO of TV3, will take over as the CEO of the company next month.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

GDP rises
Lithuania's gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 7 percent, to LTL 24.194 billion in the first three months of 2008 year-on-year, the Statistics Department reported on Monday citing revised estimations. Late in May the department published the initial figures showing a 6.9 percent rise, to LTL 23.979 billion in the country's GDP in Q1. In January-March, the growth of added value was the fastest in the construction sector, real estate, rent and other business, transport, storage and communications, wholesale and retail. The growth was somewhat slower in financial mediation, manufacturing, hotels and restaurants. Meanwhile, the added value in the mining and quarrying declined by 5.2 percent, electricity, gas and water supply - by 2 percent.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Lithuanian Energy annuls the supervisory council
Lithuania's energy utility Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), part of national investor company Leo LT, has opted to annul the supervisory council and denote the board as its standing management body. The shareholders approved the changes outlined in the new version of company's bylaws at the meeting on June 30. The new board will be elected for a four-year term on July 8. VST, the operator of power grids in the western part of Lithuania, which is also controlled by Leo LT, has no supervisory council. RST, the other power grid operator, intends to keep the council. It is expected that Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas International, RST's largest minority shareholder, will continue to have a representative on the supervisory board.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Monday, 30th of June

France offered help
France could join the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania if one of its current partners decided to pull out of the project, Lithuanian Economy Minister Vytas Navickas said on Friday. Navickas was speaking after a meeting in Vilnius with Jean-Louis Borloo, the French minister of state for ecology, energy, sustainable planning and development. "The (French) minister said that if, at some stage, an opportunity arose or some participant opted to pull out, but not for this purpose, then they propose that they, their companies could join this project," the Lithuanian minister told reporters. Navickas said France's position showed that the project was interesting to other countries and that could encourage Latvia, Estonia and Poland, the current partners, to take more concrete actions regarding their participation in the project. He pointed out that none of the current partners was as experienced in nuclear energy as France was.
Verslo Zinios

Less emigrants in Lithuania
The number of people lost by Lithuania to emigration has decreased last year as compared with earlier years, and emigrants mostly went to European Union (EU) countries, particularly the United Kingdom, shows statistical data. According to information provided by the Statistics Department, 26,500 people left Lithuania permanently or for more than six months in 2007, which indicates a decrease by more than 1,000 people from 27,800 (4.7 percent) year-on-year. Main destinations of emigration remain unchanged - countries of the European Union (EU), accounting for two thirds of emigrants. The United Kingdom is still the most popular country for emigration, becoming a new home for over 30 percent of emigrants from Lithuania. Lithuanians also head for Ireland, Germany, Spain and Denmark, while emigration flows to the United States (11 percent), Russia and Belarus have decreased. Respublika, Kauno Diena

Public sector deficit reached LTL 179.6 million
Lithuania's public sector deficit reached LTL 179.6 million in the first quarter of this year, accounting for 0.2 percent of this year's projected GDP, the Finance Ministry reported on Friday. Public sector revenues for the first quarter totalled LTL 8.061 billion. Expenditures amounted to LTL 7.975 billion and transactions in non-financial assets reached LTL 266 million. The public sector covers the central government and municipal budgets, social insurance funds, public healthcare institutions and extra-budgetary funds, as well as the State Property Fund and the Property Bank.
Verslo Zinios

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