Observer "Lietuva"

Lithuania Business News: Archive 2003-

WEEK 22/2009

Saturday, 30th of May

Electricity is cheaper for industry than residents
Electricity prices for households will fall by LTL 0.02, to LTL 0.35 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and prices for other consumers will go down by 4.2 cents (ex VAT), to LTL 0.2079 per kWh, plus VAT, starting July 1. On average, electricity prices for all consumers, as approved by the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy, will decline by LTL 0.05 per kWh. Both power distribution subsidiaries of the national energy group Leo LT, Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) and HYPERLINK "" \t "_blank" VST, will cut the rate of distribution service by LTL 0.0143 on average, to LTL 0.1029 per 1 kWh from July 1.
Lietuvos Rytas

New head of state – new decisions
The elected president Dalia Grybauskaite thinks that a deficit of state budget, which is about 5 percent, is quite good and forecasts that the possibility to adopt euro in Lithuania will appear in 2012-2015. She also claimed that the company LEO LT should be broken up. Further Grybauskaite asserted that the European Commission will be notified by July who specifically will implement the Swedlink project and in her opinion, a state company should implement this project.

Competition in the fuel market
As economic stagnation began, the prices of fuel rose by LTL 0.2 or even more in Lithuanian petrol station during May. Although specialists do not forecast a sudden rise of fuel prices but they also do not promise that prices will decrease much. The specialists claim that the reason of this growth in prices is the rise of oil price in the USA. In some specialists’ opinion, it is the first sign of the revival of economy.

Friday, 29th of May

Estimated the price of electricity
Electricity prices for households will fall by 2 Lithuanian centas, including VAT, per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and prices for other consumers will go down by 4.2 centas per kWh, plus VAT, starting July 1. On average, electricity prices for all consumers will decline by 4 centas per kWh. The new prices are yet to be approved by the National Commission for Prices and Energy. Both power distribution subsidiaries of the national energy group Leo LT -- Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) and VST --on Thursday approved new prices for their distributions services and new prices for end consumers. Arvydas Tarasevicius, the CEO of RST, said that the company's distribution service price would decrease by 1.43 centas on average on July 1. VST said in a statement to the NASDAQ OMX Vilnius stock exchange that its management board had also decided to reduce the distribution service price by 1.43 centas starting July.
Lietuvos Rytas, Verslo Zinios

Gas will become cheaper
With imports of natural gas from Russia getting cheaper, the prices of gas for households in Lithuania will decline by 17 percent on average from Jul. 1. On Thursday the National Control Commission for Prices and Energy approved respective gas prices for households by the gas supply and transportation company Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas). The board of Lietuvos Dujos confirmed new prices for households on May 12. From Jan 1 the prices of natural gas for households rose by 26 percent on average. From Jan. 1, 2008, the prices soared by some 60 percent. Lietuvos Dujos holds about 40 percent of Lithuania's gas market. The company is the sole supplier of natural gas for households.
Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Respublika

Lifosa loads its ships to Ethiopia
Lithuania's phosphate fertilizer manufacturer Lifosa is launching exports to Ethiopia. The fertilizer plant currently operates at full capacity but does not anticipate a profit for the first half of the year. The company expects market trends to become clearer in July, when it will begin to sell fertilizers to EU markets, the online news site reported on Thursday. "We are currently making losses, because products are cheap but prices for raw materials have not fallen yet. In July we'll see to which direction the market moves. Now we sell fertilizers to countries which have several harvests per year, but in July, sales in the EU will begin," Lifosa CEO Jonas Dastikas was quoted as saying. Dastikas said that the company was targeting LTL 700 million to LTL 900 million in annual revenue this year. The fertilizer manufacturer had said earlier that it was projecting revenue of around a billion litas for 2009. He did not say if the company was expecting any profit this year.
Verslo Zinios

Thursday, 28th of May

We were poor
The average gross monthly pay in Lithuania fell by 5.4 percent, or LTL 126, in the first quarter of this year from a quarter ago to LTL 2,193, the Statistics Department reported on Wednesday. The average gross monthly pay in the public sector declined by 5.9 percent, or LTL 146, over the quarter to LTL 2,319 and in the private sector, it went down by 5.3 percent, or LTL 119, to LTL 2,111. The average net monthly pay fell by a quarterly 4 percent, or LTL 71, to LTL 1,702. Real wages declined by 6.6 percent over the quarter.
Respublika,Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Grew profit
Lithuania's largest knitwear manufacturer Utenos Trikotazas (Utena Knitwear) posted LTL 1.296 million in consolidated net profit for the first three months of this year, reversing the year-earlier net losses of LTL 1.814 million. Pretax earnings of the company controlled by SBA concern made up LTL 1.307 million in January-March, up from last year's pretax losses of LTL 1.928 million. The sales of the group, meanwhile, plunged by 41 percent, to LTL 20.4 million, from LTL 34.5 million in the first three months of 2008, the company said in a statement.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

Insure less
Lithuania's insurance market, as measured by premiums written, shrank by 13 percent in the first four months of this year from a year ago to LTL 583.429 million, the Insurance Supervisory Commission reported on Wednesday. Year-on-year, the non-life insurance market contracted by 12 percent to LTL 434.144 million and the life insurance market fell by 16.4 percent to LTL 149.285 million, it said. Non-life insurance accounted for 74.4 percent of all premiums written, up from 73.4 percent a year ago. Life insurance's share of the total premiums dropped to 25.6 percent from 26.6 percent.
Lietuvos Rytas

Wednesday, 27th of May

Radiates optimism
Combined sales of Lithuanian laser industry companies totaled LTL 97.8 million in 2008, up 15.5 percent from the year-earlier figure of LTL 84.7 million. Some 86 percent of the output were channeled for exports. This year the sales should increase by 5 percent, to LTL 103 million, Rimantas Kraujalis, executive director of the Lithuanian Laser and Light Science and Technology Association (LSMTA), said. The outlook for Lithuania's laser sector remained optimistic despite global economic downturn, LSMTA president Algis Piskarskas said. "Developed countries consider the upgrade of production technologies as a way out of the crisis, hence they do not cut financing for advanced research. The demand in lasers is particularly strong when improving production efficiency and speed, they are also widely used in production of solar elements," Piskarskas said in a statement. Lithuania-made lasers and components thereof comprised almost 10 percent of the global market for research-designated lasers, he added.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas

LTL 14 million losses
Lithuania's state-controlled shipping company Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyste (Lithuanian Shipping Company, or LJL) posted LTL 13.697 million in unaudited pretax losses for the first three months of this year. The net profit of the company made up LTL 747,800 in January-March 2008. Three-month revenues of the shipper declined by 21.8 percent, to LTL 17.658 million in the first quarter of this year, from LTL 22.583 million a year earlier. LJL posted LTL 19.727 million in losses for 2008, reversing the year-earlier profit of almost LTL 30.14 million. In late 2008, the state held a 56.66 percent stake in the Klaipeda-based operator of tramp ships, which is quoted on the I-List of the NASDAQ OMX Vilnius stock exchange.
Verslo Zinios

Negotiates about the railway
Lithuania is in talks with Latvia and Estonia on possibilities for building a separate European-gauge railway line across the three Baltic countries. The Lithuanian Transport Ministry said earlier in the day that it was in talks with the Latvian and Estonian ministries on an open bidding process for a feasibility study on a separate European-gauge railway line in the Baltic countries. It is said that European-gauge tracks would allow trains to travel at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour from the Polish-Lithuanian border up to Tallinn. Lithuania plans to reconstruct separate railway sections between Kaunas and the border with Latvia, with bids for some sections to be invited in the second half of this year, and for other sections, early next year, the Lithuanian Transport Ministry said.
Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika

Tuesday, 26th of May

Grew profit by three times
Klaipedos Baldai (Klaipeda Furniture), Lithuania's furniture manufacturer controlled by the SBA Group, posted LTL 863,000 in unaudited net profit for the first three months of this year, up 3 times from the year-earlier figure of LTL 292,000. Three-month sales rose by almost 13 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 48.635 million, the producer said in its first-quarter report. Pretax earnings soared by 3.1 times, to LTL 1.078 million, from LTL 344,000 in January-March 2008, it said. Klaipedos Baldai sees its full-year sales sliding by 11.2 percent versus 2008, to LTL 164.5 million. Verslo Zinios

Ambitious plans
City Service, the Baltics' leading property maintenance and administration services provider, expects that the acquisition of six apartment block maintenance companies in Russia's second-biggest city of St. Petersburg will increase its annual revenue by more than LTL 320 million. The new acquisitions in Russia this year should generated more than LTL 180 million in revenue to the group, City Service officials said at a news conference in Vilnius on Monday. "This is undoubtedly a significant milestone in the history of our company. We want to underline that in the future, we will remain on the lookout for new expansion opportunities in that market," City Service CEO Zilvinas Lapinskas said.
Verslo Zinios

The future of Leo is vague
A special task group shall submit its conclusions on the fate of Lithuania's national investor company Leo LT to the government in a month and a half. The findings, excluding the evaluation of property contributions by public and privately-owned companies, shall be provided by July 15 at the latest. "We have discussed the [preliminary] conclusions of the task group and agreed that final findings and recommendations shall be submitted by July 15 at the latest. Yet we hope that this could be done earlier," Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius told the reporters after the government's meeting on Monday. "The decisions we make will be the ones entailing the least costs both to the state and the private shareholder. Yet, any breakup of any deal entails costs. There will be several scenarios worked out; one of them will be recommended by the task group as the principal one. Then it will be decided - at the discretion of the government, or perhaps the President - which scenario to choose," EnergyMinister Arvydas Sekmokas said. The solutions not involving the evaluation of property contributions by Leo LT subsidiaries - Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), RST and VST - would be chosen, he added. Sekmokas admitted that the assets of Leo LT might be nationalized.
Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios

Monday, 25th of May

Will carry with a larger ferry
DFDS Lisco, the sole Lithuania's ferry operator controlled by Denmark's shipping group DFDS, has opted to use a larger ferry on the route to Sweden. Starting from next Monday, May 25. the Lisco Optima ferry will operate on the route Klaipeda-Karlshamn, replacing the Kaunas ferry. "Despite economic difficulties and an about 30 percent decline in cargo flow we consider it worthwhile to strengthen the capacities of this line, thus making adequate preparations for the economic recovery in future," Anders Refsgaard, DFDS Baltic region coordinator, said in a statement. The Lisco Patria ferry of DFDS Lisco also runs on the line to Karlshamn. "The Swedish line is popular among travellers in summer, and we hope that Lisco Optima will solve occasional problems with the shortage of seats," DFDS Lisco CEO Hans-Henrik Pedersen said.
Lietuvos Zinios

Remembered a more resistant pharmacy sector
City Service, the largest Baltic property maintenance and administration services provider, has completed the purchase of 80 percent stakes in six apartment block maintenance companies in Russia's second-biggest city of St. Petersburg for RUB 185.5 million Russian. City Service on May 15 a won a privatization auction for the six companies. On May 20 City Service and the representatives of St. Petersburg municipal authorities signed an agreement and acts of transfer and acceptance, under which the Baltic group acquired 80 percent stakes in the six entities. The remaining 20 percent stakes will remain in possession of St. Petersburg municipal authorities. The total area of buildings serviced by the six companies exceeds 10 million square meters.
Verslo Zinios

Litas is strong
Reinoldijus Sarkinas, chairperson of the Bank of Lithuania, said that Lithuanian national currency – Litas – was strong and stable. He added that there was no reason to devaluate Litas and there was no necessity to talk about such thing. Giedre Geciauskiene, director of financial market department at Danske Bank, said that the bank was not paying any attention to any public gossip and did not believe in talks about Litas devaluation. Still, Geciauskiene noted that she as a public representative was angry on the Lithuanian politicians, as they were not careful and did not understand the consequences of their discussions.
Verslo Zinios

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