Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 23rd

Saturday 7th of June, 2003

Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai posts profit
The to-be-restructured Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railway) posted a pre-tax profit of LTL 51.4 million for the first quarter of this year, an increase of 51 percent if compared to the respective period last year. In January-March, 1.676 million passengers used services of Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai, a decline of 1.4 percent from last year. During the three months of this year, the company transported 10.2 million tons of cargo, 20 percent more than last year.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Achemos Grupe to open Kavarskis waterpower plant
Next week, Achema Hidrostotys that is controlled by Achemos Grupe concern will officially open a small waterpower plant in Kavarsakas, Anyksciai region. The company invested some LTL 10 million into the construction of the plant, which will produce 6.5 million kWh of electricity per year. The power plant is absolutely automated.
Presently, there are some 50 small waterpower plants in Lithuania that produce some 3 percent of electricity. It is forecasted that in 2010, waterpower plants will be producing some 500 million kWh of electricity per year.
Achema Hidrostotys has also started designing a park of wind power plants in Lithuania, power of which should make some 60 megawatts.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Two Lithuanian alcohol companies have been sold
The State Property Fund has announced winning bids for Vilniaus Degtine and Anyksciu Vynas, two of Lithuania's four alcoholic beverage companies currently undergoing privatization, but it has not named the potential buyers yet. According to information that has not been officially confirmed, the winning bids for majority stakes in both companies were submitted by Artrio-2, a Vilnius-based alcoholic beverages wholesaler.
The Lithuanian press has reported that Artrio-2 was the sole bidder for a 72.93 percent stake in Anyksciu Vynas. Reportedly, it offered to pay LTL 20 million litas for the block of shares, which is double the initial selling price of LTL 10 million. Artrio-2 also bid LTL 24 million for an 82.27 percent stake in Vilniaus Degtine, initially valued at LTL 5 million.
The Lithuanian State Property Fund said the commission continues to analyze offers from potential buyers of Stumbras and Alita, the other two beverage companies, and expects to announce winning bidders soon.
(Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena)

Friday 6th of June, 2003

Turnover of VP Market keeps growing
The operator of the largest retail chain in the Baltic states, VP Market, reported total sales of LTL 1.35 billion in the Baltic countries for the first five months of this year, a 17.2 percent rise from last year when the figure made LTL 1.152 billion.
Ignas Staskevicius, CEO of VP Market, says that sales volume keeps growing as it was anticipated at the beginning of the year. Presently, the company is rapidly expanding its chain of stores throughout Lithuania, as well as in Latvia.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Respublika)

Tile producers seek to be fashionable
The largest tile producer in the Baltic states, Dvarcioniu Keramika, has recently introduced a new tile collection that had been created following the world fashion of tile design. Presently, the company is assembling a modern Italian tile production line; the investment project worth more than EUR 6.1 million will enable the company to raise its production volume by 40 percent.
The company expects that the new tiles will be successfully sold in both local and foreign markets. Presently, Dvarcioniu Keramika exports some 50 percent of its production into Scandinavian countries, the USA, Russia, Poland and Ukraine.
Last year, the company sold production for LTL 25 million.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Modern Lithuania is being created without the state support
High technology companies encourage the government to draw attention to underlying sciences and distribute money for education more effectively.
In Lithuania, there are more than 16 companies and institutes that produce traditional biotechnological products and also three advantaged biotechnological companies – UAB Fermentas, UAB Sicor Biotech and UAB Biocentras. In 2001, a consolidated turnover of the companies exceeded LTL 11 million.
It is forecasted that sales volume of biotechnological products will grow 11 times up to LTL 500 million by 2015. The companies are expected to receive investments of up to LTL 200 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Thursday 5th of June, 2003

Banks' assets have slightly decreased
The aggregate assets of Lithuania's ten commercial banks shrank by LTL 77 million, or 0.48 percent, down to LTL 15.863 billion during the first four months of 2003. The total assets grew by LTL 285 million, or 1.83 percent.
According to the data provided by the Bank of Lithuania, the banks' overall loan portfolio increased by 5.85 percent during the four months and reached LTL 7.562 billion as of late April. The total volume of specific provisions fell by 3.08 percent to LTL 163.5 million. The total volume of bank deposits increased by 0.48 percent to LTL 11.437 billion during the January-to-April period.
Vilniaus Bankas ranked first among the country's banks in terms of total deposits, at LTL 4.294 billion, while Hansabankas had the largest portfolio of private individuals' deposits, at LTL 2.670 billion.
The overall authorised capital of commercial banks made LTL 1,11 billion as of the end of April.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Beer market still cannot recover
Because of cool weather, Lithuanians drink less beer. The beer market shrank by 7.6 percent in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period in 2002, and reached 89 million litres.
In May, the domestic beer sales of 11 Lithuanian beverages, members of the association, constituted 23.56 million litres, a 9.2 percent decline in year-on-year terms.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus, Lithuania's leading beer producer, recorded a year-on-year drop of 8.8 percent in beer sales for the January-to-May period; the company sold 42.43 million litres of beer during the five months of 2003, compared to sales of 46.51 million litres in the respective period in 2002.
Kalnapilis and Vilniaus Tauras came in second with combined beer sales of 21.73 million litres for the five months of 2003, down by 6.9 percent on the same time last year. The two breweries are planning to merge into a single company under the name of Kalnapilio-Tauro Grupe, in early July.
Gubernija reported sales of 9.29 million litres for the five-month period, a 9 percent decline year-on-year while Ragutis recorded a 1 percent drop in sales for the five months, to 8 million litres.
Daiga was the only brewery to report a rise in beer sales this year. The company's sales grew by 18.9 percent, year-on-year, up to 440,000 litres.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas)

Swedes move production of boxes to Siauliai
The Swedish producer of plasterboard and plastic boxes, Bigso AB, has moved part of their production to Siauliai in order to reduce production costs and keep their production in the largest trade chains such as IKEA. Owners of Bigso say that Vilnius or Klaipeda seemed to be too expensive towns for expansion; therefore, the company chose Siauliai.
The Swedes have invested LTL 2.3 million into the company in Siauliai. Gintaras Sluckus, the head of Bigso, says that 50 different products are manufactured in Siauliai; some 70 percent of them are made under the order of IKEA. It is forecasted that this year, turnover of Bigso will reach LTL 10 million this year.
Bengt Ivar Adolfsson, the executive director and the owner of Bigso, says that production movement to Lithuania was easier than expected, although there had been talks about the possible bureaucratic difficulties before.
According to the representatives of the company, production costs have considerably dropped after the move to Lithuania.
(Verslo Zinios)

Wednesday 4th of June, 2003

Profit of Lithuanian oil extraction companies dropped by a third
The four Lithuania's oil extraction companies reported a consolidated audited net profit of LTL 109.624 million for 2002, a decline of 34.8 percent from LTL 168.155 million in 2001.The profit declined due to the slump of oil extraction and depreciation of the US dollar rate, as oil prices did not change much if compared to 2001.
Minijos Nafta, the largest oil extraction company in Lithuania and the Baltic States, reported a net profit of LTL 65.502 million last year, a drop of 26 percent from LTL 88.428 million in 2001.
Geonafta, the second largest company by oil extraction volumes, earned an audited net profit of LTL 32.044 million in 2002, 33.5 percent down from LTL 48.158 million a year ago. Geonafta was the only company to increase oil extraction last year.
Genciu Nafta, Lithuanian-Swedish joint venture, and the oldest oil extraction company in the country, posted a net profit of LTL 7.2 25 million in 2002 (LTL 24.305 million in 2001). The youngest oil extraction company Manifoldas reported a net profit of LTL 4.853 million for last year (LTL 7.264 million in 2001).
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Panevezio Stiklas posted a 'paper' profit of LTL 21 million
After Turto Bankas wrote off the loans of LTL 31 million issued by the state, Lithuania's glass producer Panevezio Stiklas that is presently having financial difficulties posted a 'paper' profit of LTL 31.173 million for last year, yet the major company's activities are still detrimental. In 2001, Panevezio Stiklas incurred a loss of LTL 16.224 million. Last year, turnover of Panevezio Stiklas amounted to LTL 65.864 million, a decline of 20.8 percent if compared to 2001 when the figure made LTL 85.157 million.
Managers of the company say that the sales dropped due to the increasing competition as well as the cancellation of sheet glass and art glass production.
Last year, sales of sheet glass declined by 5 percent down to LTL 16.316 million; the company incurred a loss of LTL 14.552 million from its major activities.
As of the end of 2002, Panevezio Stiklas' debts to banks made LTL 84.386 million.
(Respublika, Verslo Zinios)

Silutes Baldai boosted its sales in Lithuania by 40 percent
The third largest Lithuanian furniture manufacturer, AB Silutes Baldai, sold production for LTL 955,000 over the five months of this year, an increase of 40 percent if compared to the respective period last year. In January-May, the company boosted its turnover by 33.3 percent up to LTL 29.427 million.
This year, export made 95 percent of the company's turnover and was by 1 percent lower if compared to the average figure in 2002.
Silutes Baldai expects to reach turnover of LTL 67.6 million in 2003, a rise of 17 percent if compared to 2002. According to the international accounting standards, Silutes Baldai earned a net profit of LTL 364,000 for last year, which is 2.6 times lower than that of 2001. The drop in profit was predetermined by smaller investments and revaluation of premises.
(Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Tuesday 3rd of June, 2003

The annual LTL 1 billion loss - due to outstanding debts
Lithuanian companies suffer over LTL 1 billion in losses annually due to outstanding corporate debts, which total over LTL 20 billion, the survey carried out by Zvilgsnis is Arciau, one of Lithuania's leading debt collection agencies, has revealed.
The survey has showed that nearly 90 percent of Lithuanian companies delay the payment of accounts payable at least once in a reporting month or are at least one day late to pay.
(Kauno Diena, Respublika, Verslo Zinios)

Signing of pension agreements to be postponed from October to December
Delay in the preparations of the pension system reform to be launched in the beginning of the next year is likely to postpone the deadline of signing the first pension agreements until December 1.
Vitalijus Novikovas, head of the Pension System Reform Unit under the Social and Labour Ministry, says the Ministry has already prepared and co-ordinated with other institutions the law on pension accumulation, a new wording of the law on pension fund, and other regulations.
However, the research carried out at the end of the last year revealed that most Lithuania's residents are not ready to participate in the pension reform; 22 percent of respondents had not heard anything about the pension reform, some 60 percent said they had heard something about the changes of the pension system, yet they did not know anything particular and only 18.5 percent indicated they knew the major moments of the new pension reform.
(Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios)

Alna is anticipating profit of LTL 3.4 million
One of the largest Lithuanian IT companies, Alna, is planning to earn a pre-tax profit of LTL 3.4 million, a decline of 4.6 times if compared to 2002. In the middle of the last year, Alna sold its secondary company Navision Software Baltic and made profit of LTL 10.984 million from the transaction.
According to Alna's report, the consolidated profit of the company is expected to increase by 11.3 percent up to LTL 130 million this year.
(Verslo Zinios)

Monday 2nd of June, 2003

Car wire manufacturers hunt for employees
Klaipeda-based SY Wiring Technologies Lietuva that is controlled by Siemens-Yazaki Technologies is planning to raise considerably number of its employees and boost its production volume this year. The company that produces sets of wires for Renault automobiles also expects to have more work for subcontractors. Recently, the company employed its 3,000th employee.
Max Fuchsschwanz, the CEO of the company, says that after manufacture of wires for the new Renault model was launched, the company has employed more than 1,000 people.
Last year, SY Wiring Technologies Lietuva boosted its turnover by 20 percent up to LTL 279 million; the company posted a profit of LTL 7 million. This year, the company expects to reach turnover of LTL 400 million.
Over 9 years of its activities, SY Wiring Technologies Lietuva invested LTL 107 million; this year, investments into equipment will make some LTL 20 million. The company exports 100 percent of its production to France and Spain.
(Verslo Zinios)

Suprema's losses exceeded half a million
Last year, the financial broker company Suprema incurred a loss of LTL 574,200, a rise of 37.1 percent from 2001. Suprema's income from its services and goods accounted for LTL 1.375 million in 2002, a decline of 18.1 percent if compared to LTL 1.680 million a year before.
Presently, Suprema is a consultant of the State Property Fund that is privatising the four state-owned alcohol companies.
As of the end of the first quarter of the year, Suprema had accounted securities for LTL 288.1 million, which made 1.8 percent of the overall capitalisation of the securities' market.
(Verslo Zinios)

Lithuania' debt climbed over LTL 19 billion
According to the data provided by the Department of Statistics, Lithuania has taken loans of LTL 19 billion from foreign financial organisations in 1990-2003.
Presently, the state debt to the financial organisations makes almost LTL 13 billion, which means that every Lithuania's resident owes LTL 2,945. Over the first quarter of the year, the state debt increased by LTL 1.082 billion.
The major part of foreign loans is allotted for balancing treasury flows; as of April 1, LTL 25.6 million (50.5 percent of the overall sum) have been allotted for the purpose. LTL 4.326 billion were allotted for investment projects (35.6 percent) while LTL 888 million went for purchasing fuel and other energetic resources (7.3 percent).
(Respublika)

Changes in the Parex bank's board
The board of Parex banks has appointed the new member of the board - Igoris Ryklys, the head of the bank's Business Development Department, replaced Raimondas Kutra who had left the bank. The new member of the board will be responsible for bank products, sales and network development.
Over the first three months of this year, Parex earned an unaudited net profit of LTL 2.878 million; the bank boosted its loan portfolio by 47 percent from LTL 99.5 million up to LTL 146 million year-on-year; deposits rose by 11 percent from LTL 158 million up to LTL 176 million while the bank's assets increased by 11 percent from LTL 277 million up to LTL 308 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

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