Observer "Lietuva"
Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 34.2008

Saturday, 23rd of August

Growing industrial output
Lithuania's industrial output and sales rose by 6.9 percent in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period a year ago, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. Year-on-year, the mining and quarrying and the manufacturing sectors grew by 7.8 percent. Excluding oil products from the overall figure, the growth was 0.3 percent, it said. Electricity, gas and water supplies increased by 0.8 percent over the reporting period. In July, the country's total industrial production rose by 3.8 percent year-on-year. The mining and quarrying and the manufacturing sectors grew by 3.4 percent. However, excluding oil products, their output was down by 0.7 percent.
Lietuvos Zinios

New shopping bags from Rimi
Rimi has offered re-usable shopping bags, made from environment-friendly materials. Until now environment-friendly shopping bags were only offered by trade chain IKI. However, shopping bags from Rimi are improved, as they have are marked with light reflecting lines. In this way, the trade chain will contribute to reducing numbers of car accidents on the roads. Paulo Peereboom, Chief Executive of Rimi Lietuva, says, “Shopping bags with light-reflectors will allow drivers to see people walking on the road from far away in the dark. We hope that as the school year approaches, the bags will be used by school children as well.”
Respublika, Kauno Dien

Lithuania won trial against Naftos Gavyba
After three years of litigation, Lithuania has won an international arbitration case against Naftos Gavyba, which claimed that the government failed to disclose information about litigation between Geonafta and Sweden's Svenska when it was selling Geonafta in 2000. The International Commercial Arbitration Court at the International Chamber of Commerce has rejected all of Naftos Gavyba's claims against Lithuania and ordered that the company pay up to LTL 1 million (EUR 0.3 million) of Lithuania's costs related to the arbitration process. The international arbitration ruling will have to be recognized by a Lithuanian court in order to be enforced.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena

Friday, 22nd of August

Teachers’ salaries increase
From the first of September, the coefficient of teachers’ salaries will be increased by 15 percent. Education Ministry announces, that in 2009 the salaries of teachers will be increased once again. On the 1 January this year, the payments were already increased by 15 percent: 11,3 percent due to increase in basic salary and 3,7 percent due to increase of coefficient. On 1 May, the salaries of teachers were in creased by another 10 percent. Salaries will be increased next year as well, approximately by 10 percent. Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena

One tenth of workers employed unprofitably
Lithuanian companies support approximately up to one tenth of their workers, who in practise only work when they receive larger project on seasonal demand. Temporarily employment agency Starjobs claims that this situation is usual. Valdas Strazdas, the head of Starjobs, claims” As the Lithuanian economic situation is getting more difficult, expenditure of workers’ salaries could decline, if instead of part of tong-term contracts employers would sign contracts of temporary employment. In Lithuania, employers who work according to the temporary contract do not make 1 percent, while in the EU it is 5-10 percent.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios

Linas Agro increased its profits thrice
Linas Agro, one of Lithuania's biggest agricultural companies, posted LTL 42 million (EUR 12.17 million) in unaudited pre-tax consolidated profit for its business year ended in June 2008, up 3.2 times versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 13 million.
Full-year consolidated sales soared 2.8 times, to LTL 802 million, from LTL 282 million in its 2006-2007 business year, Linas Agro said in a statement. "The growth of turnover resulted on solid 2007 harvest, increase in international trade volumes and higher prices of agricultural products on the global market. The turnover exceeded our expectations by 22 percent," the statement quoted Tomas Tumenas, Linas Agro CFO, as saying.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 21st of August

Fitch rating downgrades Snoras bank
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has revised the long-term borrowing outlook of Lithuania's Snoras bank down to Negative, from Stable, and affirmed the bank's Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB-'. Other ratings were left unchanged as well - the short-term IDR 'B', Individual 'D' and Support '4', the agency said in a statement. Moreover, Fitch affirmed 'BB-' ratings for Snoras' EUR 175 million issues of three-year Eurobonds placed in May 2007. Snoras, controlled by Russian businessmen Vladimir Antonov (68.65 percent) and the bank's president Raimondas Baranauskas (25.1 percent), is quoted on the I-List of Vilnius Stock Exchange.
Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Wool manufacturer Drobe bankrupts
Lithuania's financially troubled wool fabrics’ manufacturer Drobe, which has in the past attracted investments from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and foreign funds, has decided to file for bankruptcy. Some 426 jobs will go if Drobe declares bankruptcy. However, a Russian-owned company plans to lease Drobe's premises and equipment, and to offer jobs to a majority of its employees. The firm, which is part of the Bryansk Wool Factory Group, also intends to buy part of the ailing company's assets. Drobe has been operating in the red since 2000, blaming rising energy and raw material prices, as well as increasing labour costs and competition with Eastern manufacturers. The company's losses for the period between 2000 and late 2006 totalled LTL 43.5 million (EUR 12.6 million).
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Profits of gambling industry
Gamblers left behind LTL 126.91 million (EUR 36.78 million) at Lithuanian gaming establishments in the first six months of 2008, up 15.4 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 110.04 million, the State Gambling Supervisory Commission reported on Wednesday. Gambling operators posted LTL 647.36 million in aggregate revenues, a rise of 24.7 percent year-on-year, and distributed LTL 520.45 million in winnings, up 27.3 percent, in the reporting period. Bookmakers won LTL 9.27 million from gamblers in the six-month period, up 76.9 percent, year-on-year. In 2007, the industry earned LTL 245.9 million from gamblers, 31.5 percent more than in the previous year.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 20th of August

New chief excecutive for Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant
Marius Grinevicius, the director of the Nuclear Energy Department at Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), has been appointed chief executive officer of Visagino Atomine Elektrine (Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, or VAE), a subsidiary of Leo LT.
Grinevicius, 49, will take up the post at VAE, a company that will carry out preparatory work for the construction of a new nuclear power plant, on September 1, Leo LT Chairman Rymantas Juozaitis, who is in Beijing, told on Tuesday that Leo LT expects to register the new company with an authorized share capital of LTL 12.7 million (EUR 3.68 million) by 1September.
Kauno diena, Lietuvos Zinios

Lithuanians expect litas to decline versus euro
More than a half of Lithuania’s population believes that the litas-euro rate will change before the introduction of the single currency in Lithuania, the latest population poll conducted by the market pollster RAIT has shown. Some 55 percent of respondents expect litas to decline versus euro before the introduction of the single currency, while 5 percent see the local currency gaining some strength versus euro. The majority of those expecting litas rate to grow versus euro before the adoption of the single currency were in the age group 15-24. Some 18 percent of respondents, mostly people with high education and residents with monthly income above LTL 1,500 (EUR 434) per household member, believe that the litas-to-euro rate will remain unchanged. About 22 percent, mostly aged 65-74 and people with basic education, had no definite opinion. Litas is currently pegged to euro at LTL 3.4528 rate. Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Rytas

Budget profits from excise taxes
During the first 6 month of 2008, national budget gained several millions litas from excise taxes, which was received from contraband or illegal production. National Tax Inspection announced that homemade vodka, contraband alcohol and cigarettes brought LTL 3,24 million of excise tax, fines and overdue fees during the first half of the year. In 2007 at the same time LTL 907,000 were received, while during whole year LTL 2,15 million of excise tax, fines and overdue fees.
Lietuvis Zinios, Respublika

Tuesday, 19th of August

New wireless internet
Wireless Internet WiMax has been introduced in Kaunas city and its region. Balticum TV provides this service, which is one of three winners of WiMax competition. WiMax connection is exceptional by long radius of working, compared to other radio connection technologies; customers living in remote places can use it, which has no infrastructure. The speed of Internet with WiMax is 1Mb per second. It is planned that by 2009, WiMax Internet net will cover 2 percent of territory in the country.
Kauno diena

Sales of Lifosa grow
Lithuania's phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa posted LTL1.092 billion (EUR 316.5 million) in sales revenues in the first seven months of this year, up 2.3 times versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 465.577 million. In July alone, the sales soared by 55.8 percent, to LTL 202.012 million, from LTL 129.681 million in July 2007, the company said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Decreasing inflation
Over August, the prices of commodities and services will only increase by 0,1 percent, which is slightly less than during previous months. According to the forecasts of the Statistics Department, annual inflation is forecasted to be 12 percent, while average annual inflation should be 10,3 percent. In July annual inflation was 12,4 percent, while average annual inflation reached 9,9 percent. According to Bron?s Kaminskien?s, head of Methodology And Quality Branch of the Statistics Department, in August inflation will increase mainly due to the restaurants and hotels, which gradually are becoming more expensive as well as increase of price of health services.
Lietuvos rytas, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 18th of August

Trap for house-sellers
Experts are encouraging people who wish to sell their houses to make measurements as soon as possible. Usually sellers start doing it only after selling process has started, and as the process of cadastral measurement of building and sorting out documents lasts a few weeks, potential buyers might even change their minds. People selling land face similar problems, as cadastral measuring might last for 20-45 days.
Kauno diena

Year of Crisis in stock market
Investors predict that hard time of stock market will last at least until the middle of next year. Audrius Dzikevicius, vice-president of independent expert club Pinigu Srautas, says that as the world economics is slowing down, the possibilities of receiving predicted profit decreases. Dzikevicius also claims that those, who are not afraid to risk, are looking for alternative investment, shot-term investment is good for raw-material markets, while other part of investors turned to bond market and there awaits for return of better times.
Lietuvos Zinios

CDs Are Becoming Endangered Specie
As the technologies are improving, CDs are being exchanged in the market for DVDs, which are similar, but can contain much more data. Paulius Parseliunas, head of ACME Baltija said that factories of CD in Europe have been bankrupt for a while by now. At the moment, the main production of CDs is relocated to India, China, and Taiwan. Ricardas Startavicius, head of BOP Group says that although sales of CDs in Europe dropped by 30 percent, it does not necessarily mean it will happen in Lithuanian any time soon.

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