Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-
Saturday, 27th of September
Agrowill group purchases Gruduva
Agrowill Group, Lithuania's largest agricultural investment company, has closed the purchase of Gruduva and now owns 97.28 percent of the agricultural firm based in the district of Sakiai, in the south-western part of the country. The value of transaction has not been disclosed. Gruduva posted LTL 16.2 million in audited non-consolidated net revenue last year. Its EBITDA reached LTL 7.6 million and net profit came in at LTL 4.9 million. Agrowill Group sees its consolidated operating revenues to increase by 36 percent, to LTL 58 million this year. The net profit is expected to grow by almost 20 percent, to LTL 11.5 million.
Lithuania's biggest telecoms company Omnitel sold more that 100 iPhone 3G phones in the first four hours after the sale of the Apple iPhone began last midnight. "The iPhone 3G took a very long time to arrive in Lithuania. This phone has everything a user needs. I think this phone will soon become the most popular one in Lithuania," Omnitel CEO Antanas Zabulis said on Friday. The price for buying an iPhone with a plan ranges from LTL 1 to LTL 769, depending on the memory size.
Lietuvos Rytas, Kauno Diena
Retail sales rise
Lithuania's retail sales rose by 10.1 percent in the first eight months of this year from a year earlier, to LTL 24.12 billion, the Statistics Department reported on Friday citing preliminary estimations. Food retailers boosted their aggregate turnover by 5 percent and non-food retailers, excluding the automotive sector, recorded a 13.3 percent increase. The department noted a slowdown in the growth of furniture, lighting equipment, household appliances, radio and TV equipment, metals, paint and glass retail.
Friday, 26th of September
Insurance market slightly grew
Lithuania's insurance market grew by 3.3 percent in the first eight months of this year from a year earlier to LTL 1.366 billion, the Insurance Supervisory Commission (ISC) reported on Thursday. The overall market growth was driven by an 18.7 percent increase to LTL 1.014 billion in non-life insurance premiums. The life insurance market recorded a 24.9 percent decline in premiums to LTL 351.97 million, it said. Non-life insurance accounted for 74.2 percent of all premiums written, up from 64.6 percent a year earlier. Life insurance's share of the total premiums fell to 25.8 percent from 35.4 percent. A total of 3.093 million insurance contracts were concluded during the eight months, a 3.4 percent decline on the previous year. The number of life insurance contracts increased by 23.4 percent to 64,705, of which 34,300 were investment life insurance contracts (up 0.1 percent). Insurance companies paid out a total of LTL 635.317 million in claims in January through August, 60 percent more than a year ago. Non-life insurance payouts rose by 27.9 percent to LTL 461.417 million and life insurance claim payouts reached LTL 173.9 million.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Debt portfolio grows in Lithuania
Private individuals in Lithuania saw their total debt portfolio swell by 86.3 percent year-on-year to LTL 273 million in September, Creditinfo Lietuva said on Thursday. Legal entities' debts increased by 18.4 percent over the year to LTL 473.6 million, with most of the debts owed to financial institutions, the credit risk management solutions firm said. Financial institutions, including banks, leasing companies and others, were also the biggest creditors to private individuals. Indebtedness is growing in the business sector as well, it said. "The situation is not critical, but a chain reaction of indebtedness has started. Anticipated rises in prices of energy resources and consumption slowdown will have a major impact on further growth of indebtedness," Creditinfo Lietuva CEO Andrius Bogdanovicius said. Creditinfo Lietuva is owned by Iceland's biggest credit information supplier Creditinfo Group.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika
Forecasts of Lithuanian Finance Minister
Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius expects that the country's annual inflation rate will fall down to a single-digit figure toward the end of this year as a result of decreasing consumption. He said that a decline in VAT revenues for the first eight months of the year signalled a decline in consumption, which should bring inflation down. "The decrease in consumption is an obvious precondition for inflation to decelerate. The society itself has become a regulator, putting the brakes on price hikes," Sadzius said. "Food prices in August stayed at the same levels. Therefore, we forecast that the inflation rate this month will not be 12 percent with decimal points. Inflation has peaked, which is a sign that we may expect it to return to single-digit figures soon," he said. The government's tax revenues for the eight months came in slightly more than 1 percent below the target as a result of lower VAT revenues, the minister said.
Thursday, 25th of September
The EU Commissioner plans visiting Lithuania
Joaquin Almunia, the EU commissioner responsible for economic and monetary affairs, is to pay a visit to Lithuania on Thursday. The commissioner is scheduled to meet with Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas, Finance Minister Rimantas Sadzius and the Bank of Lithuania's governor, Reinoldijus Sarkinas, Their discussions will focus on the economic situation in Lithuania and the whole Europe and the outlook for the future, as well fiscal policy and structural reform measures, the European Commission Representation in Vilnius said on Wednesday.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios
Vilkyskiai Dairy introduces new cheese production line
Modest, a subsidiary of Vilkyskiu Pienine (Vilkyskiai Dairy), one of Lithuania's most technologically advanced dairy manufacturers, has introduced a new LTL 4 million cheese production line. Vilkyskiu Pienine reported that the European Union had provided LTL 1.5 million to help finance the project. The new line has boosted Modest's daily mozzarella production capacity to over 10 tons, up from 0.5 tons, it said. This will enable the company to export its cheese to foreign markets. Vilkyskiu Pienine posted LTL 6.946 million in consolidated losses for the first half of this year, versus LTL 975,000 in net profits a year ago.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika
Employees in banks earn highest salaries
Banks last year paid the highest salaries to their executives among all companies listed on the Vilnius Stock Exchange (VSE), the country's Securities Commission said in a report on Wednesday. The average gross monthly salary for an executive in the banking sector was around LTL 39,700, the authority said in its overview of 2007 annual data from issuers. Banks were closely followed by the pharmaceutical company Sanitas, which paid its executives an average monthly salary of around LTL 34,900. The highest paid professionals were those in the investment operations sector and in the commercial services and commodities sector. The shipping and materials sectors paid the highest monthly salaries to manual workers, 2,900 and LTL 2,700 on average, respectively.
Wednesday, 24th of September
Air carriers present numbers
Lithuanian air carriers recorded a 62.3 percent year-on-year increase to 807,300 in total passenger numbers for the first eight months of this year, the Statistics Department reported on Tuesday. However, the total volume of cargo and mail handled by the country's airlines fell by 40 percent over the reporting period to 2,900 tons, it said. The number of passengers on regular flights soared by 69.3 percent year-on-year to 425,700, accounting for 52.7 percent of all passengers carried during the eight months.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios
Novaturas posts figures
Novaturas, the biggest tour operator in the Baltics, posted LTL 294.4 million in consolidated sales in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania in the first eight months of this year, up 26.6 percent versus the year-earlier figure of LTL 232.5 million l. The number of holidaymakers going on company's package holidays from the Baltic countries and Romania increased by 30.5 percent in January-August, Novaturas' representatives said. Novaturas' revenues in Lithuania increased by 18.7 percent, to LTL 191 million in the reporting period, as the number of tourists serviced by the company increased by 29 percent. Early this year, Novaturas projected its full-year revenues to grow by 35.9 percent, to LTL 522 million.
Rokiskis Cheese sees itself going in red
Rokiskio Suris (Rokiskis Cheese), the leading Lithuania's dairy company, sees going into the red this year. The losses would result on a marked decline in the prices of dairy products on export markets, lower prices of dairy products on the domestic market and a rise in the prices of raw milk, the company said. Full-year sales forecasts, however, remained unchanged, at LTL 700 million. The company would not disclose the amount of projected losses. Earlier Rokiskio Suris said it profit margin would reach 3 percent in 2008, which, should equal the net profit of LTL 21 million.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas
Tuesday, 23rd of September
Agrowill Group intends selling all the land in Lithuania
Agrowill Group, Lithuania's largest agricultural investment and development company, intends to sell all the land it owns in Lithuania to the Land Fund, an investment fund it plans to establish. "The company's management board analyzed the possibilities for using the land and costs, and decided to concentrate on the group's core business of production of raw agricultural products. Therefore, the management of the land will be separated," Agrowill Group CEO Valentas Sulskis said. Agrowill Group expects to raise funds from international institutional investors for the Land Fund, which is planned to start operating in the first half of next year. Sulskis said that the transaction should generate at least LTL 200 million in proceeds to Agrowill Group. Agrowill Group plans to sell around 16,000 hectares of land to the Land Fund. The group currently owns around 14,500 hectares of land, but it intends to increase its land portfolio by the end of the year.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant switches on the first turbines
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) switched on the first of two turbines of its sole operating reactor after more than a month and a half of repairs late on Saturday. The turbine ran at 650 MW capacity on Monday morning. The turbine would reach full capacity of 750 MW on Tuesday, and the second turbine would be switched on next week, early in October, INPP CEO Viktor Shevaldin said. "Everything is going on successfully and as scheduled," he said. Ruta Mercaitiene, spokeswoman of Lithuania's energy utility Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), said that the company was currently importing some 400 MW of electricity. On Wednesday, after the switch-off of the 7th unit of Lithuanian Power Plant (LPP), the imports would reach 800 MW at peak and would average some 600 MW.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika
Leo LT discusses the power link with Sweden plans
Lithuania's national electricity company Leo LT expects that its project for a power link with Sweden will pick up speed soon and that it will help accelerate the creation of a common electricity market in the Baltic countries. "Scandinavian producers and consumers think that this project is needed. We are confident that the project will start moving in the near future and at a very fast rate," Saulius Specius, a member of Leo LT's the management board, said at a news conference on Monday. "This connection should link all three Baltic countries to Scandinavia and should also interconnect the three Baltic markets. We must agree on this with Latvia and Estonia," he said. "We are confident that our project will be implemented because we are in the most advanced stage," the official said. Specius said it was possible that a power link with Sweden would be built faster than a connection with Poland because the latter project would involve buying land from thousands of private landholders, which could take much time to do.
Monday, 22nd of September
DnB Nord Bank presents projections
DnB Nord Bankas, Lithuania's third-biggest bank by assets, expects to raise LTL 70.32 million through a new share issue to finance its growth plans. DnB Nord intends to increase its share capital to LTL 622.104 million by issuing 270,480 new ordinary shares with a nominal value of LTL 115 at a minimum issue price of LTL 260 a share, the bank said on Friday. The bank's shareholders will be asked to approve the proposed share capital increase at their extraordinary general meeting to be held on September 29, it said.
PZU Lietuva reveals its data
8 out of 10 biggest payouts went to customers for losses insured abroad, 8-month data of insurance company PZU Lietuva revealed. In total, PZU Lietuva paid LTL 42 million in insurance benefit in 2008. According to Ricardas Morkvenas, head of Claims Department at PZU Lietuva, insurance benefits paid for accidents abroad could skyrocket since in most of the countries there are no limitations for the amount to be paid to cover the losses. The biggest payout of LTL 700,000 this year has been paid for a traffic accident caused by car owned by Lithuanian company in Italy, which resulted in one fatality and damage to other vehicles.
Telecommunications market leaders
According to the data of the Communications Regulatory Authority, the gap between the mobile connection leaders in the market is getting smaller. Tele2 has come even closer to Omnitel in terms of the number of active subscribers. Omnitel covered 39.6 percent of the market during the second quarter of the year, while Tele2 had 37.5 percent and Bite Lietuva remained with 20.5 percent. It is clear that the part of Tele2 market has been growing, while the parts of Omnitel and Bite were falling during the mentioned period. 26.7 thousand of numbers were relocated during the period, which is by 11.8 percent more than during the first three months of the year. 12.4 thousand of numbers were relocated to Tele2 and 3 thousand of clients have left Tele2. Bite Lietuva attracted about 9 thousand of clients from its rivals and lost 5.7 thousand of them. Omnitel retook only 4.3 thousand of clients and gave away 16.4 thousand. Currently, there are 147.8 of active SIM cards for a hundred of residents. Omnitel still leads in terms of its revenues, which cover 41.74 percent of the market value. Bite has 28.34 percent of the market value while Tele remains with 26.51 percent.
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