Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-


WEEK 8/2009

Saturday, 21st of February

New route
Ukraine's carrier Donbassaero will launch direct flights between Vilnius and Kiev from February 23. The company and Vilnius Airport signed an agreement on cooperation in 2009 on Friday. The Ukraine's company will offer four weekly flights on the route - on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the airport's spokesman Arunas Marcinkevicius said.
Lietuvos Rytas

Is it the last jump of inflation?
Lithuania's average annual inflation rate, as measured by the EU Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), reached 11 percent in January, 0.1 point higher than the rate measured by the national CPI, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. The HICP-measured average 12-month inflation rate is one of the key indicators for countries wishing to join the euro zone. The annual HICP inflation rate last month stood at 9.5 percent and the monthly inflation rate was 2.6 percent. Both HICP rates were 0.1 point below the national CPI rates.
Respublika

Gaps in the budget
The deficit of SODRA (State Social Insurance Fund Board) stood at LTL 300 million in January. The situation slightly improved in February; however, still the expenses of the fund exceed its revenues. SODRA announced at the beginning of February, that the fund’s payments exceed its revenues by LTL 221.8 million. According to the preliminary data, the budget’s revenues were LTL 801.7 million in January, while the expenses stood at almost LTL 1,024 billion.
Lietuvos Rytas

Friday, 20th of February

airBaltic does not keep promises
Latvia's carrier Airbaltic is not fulfilling its promises to resume direct flights from Vilnius to London, Brussels, Berlin and Helsinki from the beginning of its 2009 summer season. Last December Airbaltic said that flights on those routes, which were suspended late in 2008 and early in 2009, would be resumed in the beginning of this year's summer season. The company now says that its summer season schedule, same as its current winter schedule, will include direct flights from Vilnius to Copenhagen, Milan, Munich, Riga, Stockholm and Tallinn. Meanwhile, the carrier confirmed its plans to operate a link between Riga and Palanga. Twelve weekly flights on this route would be launched from March 29.
Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Bite hummed
Bite Group, the mobile services provider with operations in Lithuania and Latvia, reported LTL 648.004 million in consolidated operating revenues in 2008, up 6.6 percent from the 2007 figure of LTL 608.131 million. The group's EBITDA, however, shrank by 1.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 125.813 million, and the EBITDA margin narrowed to 19 percent, from 21 percent in 2007, Bite said in a report to investors. The operating revenues of Bite Lietuva increased by 3.1 percent, to LTL 591.106 million last year.
Verslo Zinios

State debt grew
Lithuania's state debt grew by LTL 676.8 million to LTL 17.375 billion last year amid a considerable increase in domestic borrowing, the Finance Ministry reported on Thursday. However, as a result of economic growth, the debt-to-GDP ratio last year declined to 15.6 percent of GDP, down from 17 percent in 2007, it said. Lithuania's foreign debt narrowed by LTL 65.3 million last year to LTL 11.161 billion, accounting for 64.2 percent of the total state debt.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday, 19th of February

Lets Google go, but catches Microsoft
Lithuanian Economy Minister Dainius Kreivys expects that either the global Internet search giant Google.com or the online retailing giant Amazon.com will "sooner or later" begin to develop operations in Lithuania. "It's a question of time. I believe that sooner or later we'll attract either Google.com or Amazon.com," Kreivys told members of the parliament's Economics Committee on Wednesday. The minister said that he was personally in talks with Sweden's furniture group Ikea, Norway's aluminum manufacturer Elkem and Google.com over investment in Lithuania. Elkem considered investing about LTL 800 million in building a factory in the port of Klaipeda or in the central Lithuanian town of Kedainiai. The company discussed those plans with the then Prime Minister, Gediminas Kirkilas.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Worsened forecasts
Sweden's SEB Bank has revised downward its forecasts for the Baltic economies, but still expects that the economic downturn in Lithuania this year will be less severe than in Estonia and Latvia. In its latest Nordic Outlook report, SEB forecasts that Lithuania's economy will contract by 5.5 percent this year and 3 percent next year. Estonia's GDP will plunge by 10 percent and 2.3 percent and Latvia's economy will slide by 9.5 and 3 percent, respectively, according to the report. Lithuania's average annual inflation rate is expected to ease to 5 percent this year, down from 11.1 percent last year, and decelerate further to 4 percent in 2010. Inflation in Latvia should reach 4.8 percent this year before falling to 0.5 percent next year. Inflation in Estonia will be 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. SEB forecasts that current account deficits in Lithuania and Latvia will be about 6 percent of GDP this year.
Verlso Zinios, Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Stumbras develops in Ukraine
The largest Lithuania's alcoholic beverages producer Stumbras will enter into partnership with Ukraine's spirits wholesaler Dostavka Liuks. The purpose of the partnership is to raise the awareness of Stumbras' products and their availability on Ukraine's spirits market, the company said in a statement to the stock exchange. The scale of investments into Ukraine's company was still undecided, Dalius Balceris, a member of Stumbras' supervisory council, said. "This is a newly established company, and we are now holding talks on participation in its activities," he said. Stumbras would supply its products to Ukraine via Dostavka Liuks, he said. Moreover, the company was mulling an option to produce some spirits in Ukraine under the brand name of Stumbras.
Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 18th of February

Tries to recover the licence
Collapsed Lithuania's regular flights operator FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines seeks to recover the flight license, the validity of which was suspended earlier this year. The carrier controlled by a group of local businessmen claims that both the Civil Aviation Administration and the Ministry of Transport failed to justify their decisions on the suspension of the license adequately. bFlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines has asked the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court to annul the decisions taken by the abovementioned institutions. Neither institution notified the carrier of any shortcomings in flight safety, failure to eliminate which could have enabled the competent authorities to suspend the carrier's certificate or the flight license, FlyLAL CEO Vytautas Kaikaris said in a statement. Last September FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines obtained an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certificate proving that the company's operations were compliant with all security standards set forth by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

The negotiations about a billion euro loan are completed
The Lithuanian government has completed negotiations to borrow up to EUR 1.132 billion from the European Investment Bank (EIB) on easy terms this year, officials said on Tuesday. The money will be used for co-funding of 2004-2013 projects supported by the European Union. Economy Minister Dainius Kreivys said that Finance Ministry has completed the talks and that the money will be disbursed in installments. Rolandas Krisciunas, undersecretary at the Finance Ministry, said that they plan to sign an agreement with the EIB in mid-March after all the procedures required by the bank have been completed. "This aid will be used to co-finance all projects eligible for support from the European Union's Structural Funds up to 2015. In theory, we have until 2015 to spend the money, but nobody prohibits us from using it earlier," he said. He said that the bulk of the EIB money will go into the state's coffers and will be used to co-finance various projects.
Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

The revenues of Lifosa fell by 38.3 percent
Lithuania's phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa said on Tuesday that its sales revenue for January fell by 38.3 percent from a year ago to LTL 87.74 million. Revenue from sales of diammonium phosphate, Lifosa's main product, dropped by 35.6 percent last month year-on-year, as sales went down by 20.86 percent to 76,900 tons, said the company, which is listed on the Vilnius bourse. Lifosa's annual sales revenue almost doubled last year to LTL 1.749 billion, surpassing the high end of the forecast range by almost 1 percent despite a market downturn in the fourth quarter.
Verslo Zinios

Tuesday, 17th of February

Electricity way to Lithuania will be wider
Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine should sign treaties on electricity supplies to Lithuania in May, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas said. Usackas spoke to journalists after meeting with his Ukrainian and Belarusian counterparts, Volodymyr Ogryzko and Sergey Martynov, in Vilnius on Saturday. "The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant will be decommissioned in the end of this year, therefore, Lithuania is interested in purchasing electricity from other markets. We gave a political impulse today for expert agreements by May," said the foreign minister. The Belarusian and Ukrainian delegations include officials of energy ministries and energy companies. The Belarusian diplomacy chief, Martynov, guaranteed during the news conference that there were no technical obstacles for electricity transfer from Ukraine to Lithuania.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

The post is losing
Lithuania's mail and courier services market, as measured by revenue, grew by 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from a year earlier, to LTL 68 million, the Communications Regulatory Authority reported on Friday citing preliminary estimations. The revenues of mail service providers declined by 5.2 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 27.2 million in October-December, while courier service providers saw their revenues go up by 10.3 percent, to LTL 40.8 million The regulator will release the final data at the end of February.
Verslo Zinios

Zemaitijos Pienas cuts down on its investments
The dairy company Zemaitijos Pienos plans investing about LTL 14 million into its production development this year, which is by 50 percent less than the company planned investing previously. The representatives of the company note that such changes were determined by the global economic crisis. Zemaitijos Pienas hopes that the part of its expenses on the investments will be covered by the European Structural Funds. The consolidated non-audited losses of the company stood at LTL 10.4 million during the first half of 2008, while it was LTL 6.2 million during the same period in 2007.
Verslo Zinios

Monday, 16th of February

The State Holiday.

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Latvia
Lithuania

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