Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 19/2009

Saturday, 9th of May

Foreign trade contracts
Lithuania's exports fell by 25.1 percent in the first three months of this year from a year earlier, to LTL 9.4 billion, while imports slumped by 41.8 percent, to LTL 10.5, the Statistics Department reported on Friday. The country's foreign trade deficit narrowed by 80.9 percent over the reporting period, to LTL 1.1 billion, according to preliminary data based on customs declarations and Intrastat reports. In March, compared with February, Lithuania's exports edged up by 1 percent, while imports rose by 7.7 percent.
Lietuvos Rytas

Loaned more
The Lithuanian Finance Ministry has raised EUR 25 million via a private offering of euro-denominated government securities. The new issue of 25,000 bonds with a nominal value of EUR 1,000 each was registered with Lithuania's Central Securities Depository on Friday. No information is available as to who purchased the securities.
Lietuvos Rytas

The turnover decreased
The turnover of Baltic retail trade chain Rimi Baltic in Lithuania declined by 4.3 percent up to EUR 83.9 million (LTL 289.69 million, VAT excluded). In April, the turnover of Rimi Baltic went down by 6.1 percent down to EUR 21 million.
Lietuvos Rytas

Friday, 8th of May

Borrowing without any stop
Lithuania's Finance Ministry raised LTL 1.403 billion via private placements in the local market and borrowed another LTL 587 million in foreign markets in the first four months of this year as part of the state budget financing plan. In total the ministry raised LTL 4.253 billion via placement of government securities, including LTL 1.089 billion attracted via public debt securities auctions in the four-month period, the ministry said in a statement.
Respublika, Verslo Zinios

Will not discuss the amendments
Lithuania's parliament has turned down a proposal to consider amendments stipulating the extension of operations of the second unit of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP). Parliamentary Law and Order Committee has admitted that the amendments on the postponement of INPP shutdown contravene the Constitution. MPs supported the conclusion of the panel, hence the issue will no longer be considered. The amendments worked out by the parliamentary Order and Justice group set ground for the extension of INPP operations until the technically safe term. As said previously, that term was the middle of 2012.
Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika

Forecasts are getting worse
Lithuania's economy will contract by 11.8 percent in 2009 and the decline will be larger than in Estonia, yet less pronounced compared with neighboring Latvia, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) projects. The bank's experts expect the decline of the Baltic economies to continue in 2010.
Lietuvos Zinios

Thursday, 7th of May

Determined the price
If the government decided to break up the national energy company Leo LT, one of its two power distribution subsidiaries, VST, and LTL 600 million in dividends it paid to the parent company last year would go back to its privately-owned shareholder, NDX Energija, Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said on Wednesday. "In lawyers' opinion, VST and their contribution to Leo LT, LTL 600 million in the form of dividends, would undoubtedly have to be returned," Sekmokas told the parliament's Nuclear Energy Commission. Sekmokas did not rule out the possibility that NDX Energija could go to the Strasbourg court if the authorities decided to dismantle Leo LT, which was created a year ago by merging the state-owned shares in the transmission system operator Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy) and the distribution grid operator Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) with NDX Energija's shares in VST. "In Strasbourg, cases sometimes take other direction than the one in a Lithuanian court," he said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Opened the case of Alita
Povilas Milasauskas, a former director general of the Lithuanian State Property Fund (SPF), went on trial on Wednesday on charges of abusing his office in connection with the privatization of Alita, one of country's leading alcoholic beverage producers. Prosecutors told the court that as a result of illegal actions by Milasauskas, Lithuania had had to pay LTL 1.755 million in damages to Luigiterzo Bosca, an Italian national, and the state's image in the eyes of foreign business people had been undermined. Milasauskas has denied being guilty of abuse of office. Prosecutor Dainius Vilimas of the Vilnius regional prosecutor's office said that Milasauskas was accused of having unlawfully eliminated Bosca from Alita's privatization process. Subsequently, the Italian businessman took Lithuania to court, and the state had to pay him almost LTL 2 million in court-awarded damages. Bosca submitted the highest bid, LTL 90.7 million, for a majority stake in Alita in 2003. However, the company was sold to its management team for LTL 57.55 million.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Even fines are not collected into the budget this year
The Lithuanian central government collected LTL 5.009 billion in budget revenues in the first four months of this year, missing its revenue target for the period by LTL 1.226 billion, or 19.7 percent, the Finance Ministry reported on Wednesday. Total revenues for January through April, including assistance funds from the EU and other foreign countries, amounted to LTL 7.153 billion, it said.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Wednesday, 6th of May

The results of banks
The Lithuanian branch of Danske Bank, one of the biggest banks in Scandinavia and in Western Europe, suffered a pretax loss of LTL 37 million in the first quarter of this year after setting aside LTL 35 million in provisions. The branch's first-quarter loss before loan impairment charges was LTL 2 million, Danske Bank said in a press release on Tuesday. The bank's Lithuanian branch has posted a loss of LTL 17.3 million for the full year 2008. In 2007, the branch, which then operated under the name of Sampo Bankas, made a net profit of LTL 35.6 million.
Lietuvos Rytas

Handled less
Klaipedos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil), the state-run oil products terminal, handled 2.387 million tons of petroleum products in January-April, down 18.6 percent from the year-earlier figure of 2.934 million tons. Four-month revenues declined by 15.3 percent, to LTL 36.1 million, from LTL 42.6 million in January-April 2008, the company said in a statement to the NASDAQ OMX Vilnius Stock Exchange. Eugenijus Vilunas, Klaipeda Oil spokesman, attributed the decline to Belarus ban on exports of heavy fuel oil and operations of Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), the sole Baltic oil refinery, at reduced capacity. Recovery in handling was expected as early as in May, he added. Verslo Zinios

LTL 418 of overpaid income
Lithuania's State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) has already paid about LTL 284 million in overpaid income tax refunds to more than 400,000 taxpayers who have submitted electronic income tax declarations. According to preliminary data, VMI has received more than 914,000 income tax declarations, of which 86 percent were submitted online, this year. Declarations were accepted till May 4. Taxpayers have applied for about LTL 418 million in overpaid income tax refunds. Last year taxpayers who submitted declarations recovered LTL 401 million in overpaid income tax.
Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios

Tuesday, 5th of May

Canada is interested in power plant
Lithuania may have new nuclear facility in place by 2016, Canada's Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day believes. The official invites Lithuania to install the reactors of Canada's manufacturers, which could be built fast enough. "I would wish for the new power plant to be built by 2016 and, certainly, our industry is capable of doing everything in time," he said during a news conference in Vilnius on Monday. The minister would not specify the capacity of reactors offered to Lithuania. He said, however, that the capacity of reactors as manufactured by Canada's companies ranged from 700 to 1,600 MW, hence the producers of his country could meet Lithuania's requirements. "The reactors being manufactured are of various capacity - from 700 to 1,600 MW, hence the manufacturing of reactors is flexible, and they are being built successfully in many countries worldwide," Mr. Day said. Speaking about a possibility for Canada's companies to join Lithuania's nuclear plant project as strategic investors, the minister noted that Canada's banks showed strong resilience to the global financial crisis, hence the country could participate in large-scale projects.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

May skip the maintenance of the Ignalina Power Plant
Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), which shall be shut down at the end of this year, has applied to the State Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) for a permission to skip 30-day reactor maintenance initially scheduled for September. The authority should notify INPP of its decision by May 28, he said. If VATESI still demands that the maintenance of the reactor should be carried out, it might be reduced to some 15 days.
Lietuvos Rytas

Will work five days again
Lithuania's refrigerator manufacturer Snaige on Monday reverted to its regular five-day workweek schedule, as planned."The season for sale of refrigerators begins around mid-May. Demand for our products always increases at this time of the year. We had planned the return to the five day working week since the end of last year," Snaige CEO Gediminas Ceika said in a press release. Snaige's factory in Alytus, in southern Lithuania, switched to a four-day workweek early this year amid a slump in demand. The company's refrigerator factory in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad remains idle after halting production for an indefinite period of time in early March. Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Monday, 4th of May

Withdrew politics
The audited consolidated losses of Lithuania's investment group Invalda totaled LTL 92.1 million in 2008, of which the losses attributable to the parent company's shareholders amounted to LTL 90.55 million. "The economic situation deteriorated rapidly both in the region and across the globe last year. We took respective measures, including streamlining of businesses, reorganization of loan portfolio, reduction of liabilities and sale of some assets, in response to the changes. It is still difficult to forecast when the recovery could start or at least when stabilization could be expected," Invalda president Darius Sulnis said. In 2007 the audited profit of the group totaled LTL 87.56 million, of which LTL 78.96 million were attributable to the parent company's shareholders. Earlier the group said that its unaudited consolidated losses for 2008 made up LTL 87.67 million, of which losses attributable to the parent company's shareholders amounted to LTL 86.24 million.
Verslo Zinios

Will raise authorized capital
Apranga, the largest Baltic clothes retailer controlled by MG Baltic concern, will raise authorized capital by LTL 20 million via new share offering to existing shareholders. The shareholders also voted against payment of dividends for 2008 at Thursday meeting. MG Baltic Investment, the holding arm of MG Baltic, held 52.4 percent of Apranga as of early 2009. Last year the audited net profit of Apranga group declined by 46 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 13.784 million, while the sales increased by 13.5 percent, to LTL 418.622 million.
Verslo Zinios

Will pay dividends
City Service, the Baltics' leading property maintenance and administration services provider, will distribute a total of LTL 2.102 million in dividends to shareholders, or LTL 0.11 per share, after posting a net profit of LTL 8.62 million for 2008. City Service's shareholders on Thursday approved the dividend payout and allocated LTL 400,000 for the payment of profit-related annual bonuses to members of the management board, or LTL 100,000 to each member, it said. The shareholders also set aside LTL 6 million into a share repurchase reserve and allocated LTL 336,000 to the mandatory reserve. They left LTL 6.709 million in profits undistributed.
Verslo Zinios

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