Observer "Lietuva"

WEEK 25th

Saturday 21st of June, 2003

Topo Centras
Topo Centras, the retail chain of housing appliances is expanding its network in Lithuanian regions. This year, Topo Centras is planning to invest some LTL 16.6 million into its expansion. The company controls 14 stores in different Lithuanian towns and also a store in Riga. Recently, Topo Centras has opened a store in Siauliai; another one will be opened in Ukmerge soon while later the company is planning to enter Marijampole and Alytus.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Budget revenues made 38 percent of the annual income
Over the first five months of this year, the national state budget received income of LTL 4.224 billion. In January-May, the annual national budget plan was implemented by 38.1 percent, the state budget – by 37.8 percent and the budget of municipalities – by 39.9 percent. The state budget did not receive 0.85 percent or LTL 31 million of the planned income.
If considering the four major taxes, the residents' income tax was collected the best – 42.1 percent of the annual plan (LTL 1.008 billion).
They also collected 37.6 percent of the annual VAT (LTL 1.575 billion), 35.7 percent of excises (LTL 612.7 million) and 22.6 percent of the profit tax (LTL 114.1 million)
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Fighting for gas price regulation
Lietuvos Dujos (Lithuanian Gas) will pay a higher price for natural gas supplied by Russia's gas giant Gazprom in the second half of this year, but it does not intend to revise prices for consumers. Gazprom informed the Lithuanian company in May of its intention to increase the price to USD 84 per 1,000 cubic meters, from the current USD 82. Lietuvos Dujos pays Gazprom a fixed price for gas supplies in the first half of this year.
Representatives of Lietuvos Dujos and Gazprom are planning to sign a long-term gas supply agreement next week.
The biggest gas importer in Lithuania Dujotekana will also pay a higher price for the gas supply in the second half of this year, but not as high as Russia's natural gas monopoly initially sought.
According to information that has not been officially confirmed, Gazprom wanted to raise the price for Dujotekana to USD 92 per 1,000 cubic meters from the current USD 82.
Lietuvos Dujos intends to buy 450 million cubic meters of natural gas from Gazprom and another 300 million cubic meters from Dujotekana this year.
(Respublika)

Friday 20th of June, 2003

A former 'spy' got interested into Vilniaus Bankas' secrets
Lithuania's citizen Pavel Iljin who was charged with spying in Russia three years ago got into a scandal again. Yesterday, he was officially accused of protection racketing. It is suspected that Iljin broke into Vilniaus Bankas' computer system and offered to sell the purportedly secret data about accounts and passwords on the internet. Iljin suggests visitors of the website to check the information themselves. He is asking for LTL 45 thousand for information about 10 clients and also threatens to go public if nobody is interested in his offer.
Gediminas Valancius, the head of Vilniaus Bankas Electronic Banking Department, reported that the bank received an e-mail teaching how to break into VB's information systems last week.
"We can assure that even the minor possibility to break into the bank's databases is impossible and that clients' assets are safe", Valancius claimed.
Vytautas Sereika, a representative of Hewlett Packard that created internet banking security system for Vilniaus Bankas, also claimed that 'security solutions established in the bank are one of the safest in Europe, as three security levels are used; analogical systems are used in the safest Swiss banks'.
According to Valancius, it is likely that the data published on the internet was received not after breaking into the bank's database but through other channels, for example, from the company itself.
(Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena)

Higher tobacco prices did not impede sales
The raised of tobacco prices in Lithuania last year did not prevent tobacco sales from growing further. In 2002, tobacco sales made up LTL 400.1 million, a rise of 2 percent if compared to 2001.
The Lithuanian Statistics Department has reported that the price increase of all tobacco products made up 5 percent last year. The prices surged because of the boosted excise tax for cigarettes in April and October.
(Verslo Zinios)

Strong alcohol consumption declines
Last year, 24.7 million litres of strong alcohol beverages were produced in Lithuania, a rise of 4 percent if compared to 2001, yet only 25.42 million litres were sold, which is by 1 percent lower from the previous year.
An average Lithuania's resident drank 10 litres of pure alcohol in 2002, which is the same as in 2001; yet, he bought two packs of cigarettes fewer.
In 2002, brandy production volume considerably increased while vermouth and different wine showed the biggest growth among weaker alcohol beverages.
Last year, beer production volume was the biggest – 0.263 billion litres; the figure grew by one fifth over the year.
Lietuvos Rytas

Thursday 19th of June, 2003

Fasa expects to recover
Fasa, the Marijampole-based packing equipment manufacturer, is planning to overrule its balance losses and reduce its authorised capital. In total, the company will overrule the loss of LTL 7.798 that was accumulated over several years of activities or formed after having written off old equipment. The company's authorised capital will be reduced from LTL 19.284 million to LTL 14.486 million.
Last year, Fasa posted turnover of LTL 7 million; the sales volume of LTL 8-8.5 million is anticipated for this year. The company expects to end the third quarter without losses and earn some profit in the last quarter of this year.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Sonex Grupe will supply military with hardware worth LTL 1.43 million
Sonex Grupe was announced the winner in a computer supply tender held by the Ministry of Defence. The contract's value makes LTL 1.43 million.
The Ministry will receive 239 Vector computers with Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office XP Professional licence as well as other software and hardware for LTL 1.01 million, also 13 Dell PowerEdge servers for LTL 216,000 and 31 Dell Latitude laptops for LTL 200,000.
Sonex Grupe posted turnover of LTL 27 million for the first quarter of this year, a rise of 18 percent if compared to the respective period last year. This year, the company is planning to reach turnover of LTL 200 million.
(Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios)

Construction market
One of the largest Lithuanian construction companies, Panevezio Statybos Trestas, reported turnover of LTL 48.5 million for January-May this year, a rise of 56.5 percent if compared to the same period last year when the figure made LTL 31 million.
In May this year, if compared to May last year, the company increased its turnover 3.1 times from LTL 7.2 million up to LTL 22 million. The turnover was boosted mostly because the income for construction works accomplished in the TV tube factory Ekranas was included into the company's balance in May.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Wednesday 18th of June, 2003

Drobe to decrease its authorised capital
Kaunas wool textile producer Drobe is planning to reduce its share capital by LTL 26.399 million down to LTL 46.84 million because of the cumulated losses.
Due to the fierce competition in the world textile market and the provisions the company made, Drobe incurred an audited loss of LTL 8.375 million last year. In 2001, the company posted a net profit of LTL 1.435 million.
Last year, turnover of the company accounted for LTL 80.665 million, a rise of 1.8 percent if compared to 2001 when the figure made LTL 79.225 million.
(Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios)

Turnover of Linas declined by 4.2 percent
Lithuania's Linas, the largest linen textile manufacturer in the Baltic countries, reported sales of LTL 29.793 million for the first five months of 2003, a 4.2 percent decline from the same period last year (LTL 31.087 million).
Linas' sales for May reached LTL 5.057 million, an 18.3-percent drop in year-on-year terms.
Linas has exported 87.6 percent of its production this year with its major export markets being Sweden and the United States.
Zibute Gaiveniene, the CEO of Linas, says that the second quarter is usually not profitable for the company as preparation for the summer season is already finished while that for the next season (autumn-winter) has not started yet.
(Verslo Zinios)

Housing loans continue getting cheaper
Vilniaus Bankas, the largest Lithuania's bank in terms of assets, has reduced the base housing loan margin by 0.4 percent points from 2.2 percent down to 1.8 percent. Therefore, the average interest rate applied on housing loans at Vilniaus Bankas presently makes 3.764 percent.
The second largest bank in Lithuania, Hansabankas, is not going to follow Vilniaus Bankas and reduce interest rate; it is planning to attract clients with additional services such as cheaper property insurance or discounts for different goods.
Meanwhile, Sampo bank will consider the possibility to reduce the interest rate responding to the move of the market leader.
As of the beginning of May, Hansabankas had the largest share in the housing loan market – 31.3 percent; the bank had issued housing loans for LTL 358 million. Vilniaus Bankas took the second position with 29.6 percent and loans for LTL 340 million.
Nord/LB Lietuva had issued loans for LTL 215.6 million and occupied almost 19 percent of the market while Sampo took 13.15 percent of the market with loans for LTL 150.66 million.
Lietuvos Rytas

Tuesday 17th of June, 2003

Turnover of Snaige grows by a tenth
Snaige, the largest producer of household refrigerators in the Baltic countries, reached sales of LTL 105.322 million for the first five months of 2003, an increase of 12.7 percent if compared to the same period last year when the figure made LTL 93.468 million.
Romualdas Raudonis, the CEO of Snaige, says that the company's sales for May grew by 8 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 26.565 million.
Snaige, which exports more than 90 percent of its production, reported an unaudited net profit of LTL 4.762 million for the first quarter of 2003, up by 11.9 percent from the same period last year.
The company is anticipating a pre-tax profit of LTL 27.4 million on sales worth LTL 268.25 million for the full year 2003.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas)

PakMarkas is getting profit from AgroBalt
The company of packing and stamping solutions, PakMarkas, has signed 11 agreements worth LTL 746.7 thousand after AgroBalt exhibition. The company says that its participation in the exhibition was one of the most successful this year, yet they are not sure about the next year, as number of visitors of the exhibition is quite low.
UAB PakMarkas that was established in 1994 provides advanced packing and stamping solutions; in September last year, PakMarkas established a certified ISO 9001 quality management system.
In 2002, the company expanded trade of packing material, packing and stamping equipment and sticky labels, which boosted company's turnover by 15 percent from LTL 33.59 million in 2001 to LTL 38.63 million last year.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Retail trade is gaining speed
Lithuania's total retail sales rose by 9.7 percent over the first four months of 2003 if compared to the same period in 2002. Excluding car sales from the overall figure, the growth rate made 6.8 percent.
Over the year from April 2002 to April 2003, the total retail sales increased by 13.9 percent. Excluding car sales, the rise was 12.5 percent.
Based on the preliminary data, overall turnover of retail trade enterprises, as well as sales of motor vehicles and motorcycles, their maintenance and repair, and retail sale of automotive fuel made LTL 5.189 billion for the four months of this year.
In January-April, retail sales in the food product sector went up by 7.9 percent, at constant prices, while sales of non-food products, excluding cars, increased by 5.4 percent. In April, retail sales in the respective sectors grew by 12.2 percent and 12.9 percent.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Kauno Diena)

Monday 16th of June, 2003

Siauliai to invest into meat processing market
Siauliai-based UAB Stilsas that controls Tau retail chain of 12 shops has invested more than LTL 2 million into a modern meat processing department. The company decided to make the investments also because some 40 percent of meat processors that are likely not to meet the EU requirements are going to cancel their activities in Siauliai region next year. It is expected that the investments will pay back within some 4-5 years.
Sigitas Gideika, the CEO and the owner of Stilsas says that small meat processors were producing good production, yet their equipment and premises do not meet requirements.
Stilsas is planning to sell some 50 percent of its production with Mesos Meistrai (Meat Masters) trademark in the retail chains of its partners – Mazeikiai-based UAB Gruste and Siauliai-based UAB Lupra. The three companies have signed an agreement of collaboration; they control 38 shops in Northern Lithuania.
(Verslo Zinios)

They have sold fewer cars in Lithuania this year
Over the five months of this year, 3,779 new cars were sold in Lithuania, a decline of 9.1 percent if compared to the respective period last year when 4,159 new cars were sold.
According to the data provided by Autotyrimai car market research company, car sales were higher in the first half-year in 2002 due to the amendments of the Value Added Tax Law that came to force beginning July 1, 2002. The amendments cancelled a possibility for juridical entities to retrieve VAT for the purchased new automobiles.
(Verslo Zinios)

Lelija's customers turn eastwards
The customers of Lithuania's leading sewing enterprise Lelija in Germany, Great Britain and other Western European countries are gradually pulling out of the Lithuanian market to move manufacturing operations to the East. Lelija's customers that earlier used to award full-year orders now prefer a seasonal order scheme.
In the first half-year this year, Lelija managed to keep the sales volume of last year.
In 2002, Lelija's sales volume dropped by 3.7 percent down to LTL 66.35 million. Due to unfavourable US dollar rate as well as the fluctuation of GBP, LVL and other currencies, Lelija posted a net profit of only LTL 217 thousand for 2002 while in 2001, the figure made LTL 8.684 million.
The company exports 84 percent of its production. Lelija has some 30 brand stores in Lithuania; it employs more than 3 thousand people.
(Kauno Diena, Lietuvos Zinios)

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