Observer "Lietuva"
WEEK 31st

Saturday 2nd of August, 2003

Tamro drug wholesaler posts LTL 141 million sales in Lithuania
Tamro, Lithuania's leading pharmaceutical wholesaler, has reported sales of EUR 40.7 million for the first half of 2003, including sales of Litfarma ir Partneriai, the local drug distributor acquired by the Tamro Group last December.
Tamro's sales reached EUR 25.1 million in the first half of 2002. Litfarma ir Partneriai, which then operated as a separate company, reported first-half sales of LTL 63.5 million (EUR 18.406 million).
(Kauno Diena)

Lithuanian Saulute name for VP Market's stores
Popular stores of VP Market's chain, T-Market, will be renamed into Saulut? (Daisy), next week. The new name will be used only in Lithuania, names of T-Market stores in Latvia and Estonia will not be changed.
Ignas Staskevicius, manager general of VP Market, says the name changing campaign will be commenced next week.
The German retail trade chain Lidl is very interested in the Lithuanian and the Baltic market. According to Sta?kevi?ius, plans of Lidl are not related to VP Market's chain, as its strategy does not include merger with the local chains.
Staskevicius admits that German, Scandinavian, British and French trade chain are interested in VP Market's activities but no specific offers have been received so far.

The largest Lithuania's electronics company Vilniaus Vingis, reported July sales amounted to LTL 5.4 million that is 59.7 percent less if compared with the respective period last year. Turnover of the company amounted to LTL 69.9 million that is 22.7 percent if compared with January – June period in 2002.
(Lietuvos Rytas)

Friday 1st of August, 2003

First-half sales by Lithuania's gas station chain LUKoil Baltija amounted to LTL 490
Sales by LUKoil Baltija, Lithuania's fuel trader, and the affiliate LUKoil Baltija Servisas grew by 8.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 490 million in the first half of 2003.
First-half turnover of LUKoil Baltija Servisas, the operator of the biggest Lithuania's chain of gas stations, came in at LTL 245 million rising by 12.4 percent, in one year terms.
The company saw sales rise to LTL 937 million, including LTL 455 million in wholesale turnover and LTL 482 million in retail, Ivan Paleichik, LUKoil Baltija chairman, said.
LUKoil is expected to to expand its existing chain from 100 to 120 petrol stations by the end of the year.
LUKoil Baltija controls nearly 25 percent of Lithuania's fuel retail market, Paleichik said.
(Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Banks offer to save pensions
One more company has announced intentions to open a saving fund. The fund to be established by Vilniaus Bankas expects to attract 40 percent of the working population.
The pension fund to be established by the bank will be administered by the investment management affiliate VB Investiciju Valdymas, which manages nearly LTL 80 million in assets.
The first contracts with customers eager to take up a pension scheme should be signed in late August or early September, shortly after acquirement of a pension fund license, Saulius Racevicius, CEO of VB Investiciju Valdymas, said.
The bank will create two funds that will invest in different stocks and will be targeted at different clients' groups.
In 2004, market of private pension funds is likely to have several new players, including banks Nord/LB Lietuva and Hansabankas, the brokerage company Finasta and the life insurers Commercial Union Lietuva Gyvybes Draudimas, Lietuvos Draudimo Gyvybes Draudimas.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Lithuania's Mazeikiai Oil posts profit
Mazeikiu Nafta (Mazeikiai Oil), the Lithuanian oil group majority owned by Russia's oil giant YUKOS, yesterday confirmed information that the company gained profit in the first half if 2003. In press-release Mazeikiu Nafta announced a preliminary net profit of LTL 74.068 million for the first half of 2003.
These profit and loss figures are based on the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Under the Lithuanian accounting principles (LAP), the company's financial result for the first six months of 2002 was a loss of LTL 209.55 million.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas)

Thursday 31st of July, 2003

Klaipedos Baldai posted bigger profit
Klaipedos Baldai, Lithuania's number one furniture manufacturer in terms of sales, posted a pre-audited pre-tax profit of LTL 4.145 million for the first half of 2003, or 1.6 times more than in the same period a year ago. The pre-tax profit of Klaipedos Baldai for the first quarter of 2003 amounted to LTL 2.769 million, 70.3 percent more than in January – March 2002. Klaipedos Baldai exports over 91 percent of the company's production.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Lithuania's public debt shrinks by LTL 1.2 billion
Lithuania's total public debt shrank by LTL 17.2 million and amounted to LTL 13.129 billion in June, compared to May, and accounted for 24.4 percent of the country's projected GDP (LTL 53,776 million). In June, the government borrowed LTL 7.3 million under loan agreements it had signed earlier, and repaid LTL 32.7 million to foreign lenders. However, the direct foreign debt widened by LTL 10.9 million owing to currency rate fluctuations. Lithuania's foreign debt reached LTL 8.977 billion at the end of June, which represented 68.4 percent of the overall public debt.

Lithuania ranks fourth in the world in terms of economy growth
Vilniaus Bankas has raised the GDP prognosis from 5.5 to 6.5 percent for this year. NORD/LB forecasts similar growth of Lithuania's economy.
Lithuania's first-quarter GDP growth was the fourth biggest in the world yielding to the growth rates of Tajikistan, Armenia and Kazakhstan only. 9.4 percent rise of economy in the first quarter of 2003 placed Lithuania in the fourth position on the global list of countries showing the fastest growth of GDP, Vilniaus Bankas reports.
In the respective period last year, GDP growth amounted to 3.9 percent. The analysts of Vilniaus Bankas claim that 6-7 percent economy growth for several years in a row is a rare phenomenon. According to the preliminary data of the Statistics Department, Lithuania's GDP soared by 7.7 percent in the first six months of 2003. In the second quarter of 2003, GDP growth amounted to 6.1 percent.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas)

Wednesday 30th of July, 2003

Capital market is increasing
The Lithuanian Securities Commission has announced the report of the capital market for the second quarter of 2003.
At the end of Q2, capitalisation of the National Stock Exchange amounted to LTL 15.3 billion, of which the listed securities capitalisation amounted to LTL 10.4 billion and non-listed securities –LTL 4.8 billion. High share prices have predetermined increase in the listed securities capitalisation: the general price index Litin G rose by 36 percent, and Litin was from 10 to 25 percent.
The deals concluded in Vilnius bourse over the second quarter totalled LTL 593 million, of which 72 percent concerned the government securities. Turnover on the central market grew more than twofold from the first quarter up to LTL 80 million.
(Verslo Zinios)

Aibe increased turnover by 46.6 percent
Baltic retail chain Aibe, which embraces over 640 shops in Lithuania and Latvia, boosted sales by 46.6 percent more than in 2002; to LTL 299.2 million in the first six months of this year.
First-half sales of the chain on the Lithuania's market edged up by 7.5 percent to LTL 219.23 million.
Meanwhile, turnover of Latvia's shops operating under the trademark of Aibe increased by 7.5 percent up to LTL 219.23 million. Turnover of the retail trade chain in Latvia in the first half of 2002 reached LVL 14.68 million.
"Naturally the growth will speed up in Latvia next year. The chain welcomes more and more small and mid-scale retailers each month", Egidijus Aleinikovas, director of the company Aibes Mazmena, the chain's representative, said.
As of June 30 the Aibe chain embraced 378 food shops in Lithuania (a rise of 7.7 percent, in one year terms). In Latvia the network incorporated 271 food shops and a cafe.
Last year Aibe sales rose by 6.9 percent to LTL 419.9 million.
(Verslo Zinios, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios)

Lithuania's GDP soars 7.7 percent in H1
The Statistics Department has reported that the preliminary Lithuania's gross domestic product (GDP) soared by 7.7 percent in the first six months of 2003.
GDP totalled LTL 25.608 billion for the prices in Lithuania.
The rise of the economy was fuelled by a strong growth in manufacturing sector, power, gas and water utilities, construction, wholesale and retail trade.
In the second quarter LTL 3.873 of GDP fell to every resident of the country. It is 6.5 percent more if compared with the respective period last year.
In the first quarter GDP increased by 9.4 percent if compared with the respective period last year.
The ministry of finance pegs forecast growth of Lithuania's GDP at 6.1 percent, Vilniaus Bankas forecasts the growth of 5.5 percent and Hansabankas 6.2 percent.
(Verslo Zinios, Kauno Diena, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas, Lietuvos Zinios)

Tuesday 29th of July, 2003

Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyst4 will not have new owner this summer
The commission in charge of privatization of Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyste (LJL), shipping company, has rejected a bid from Denmark's Trident Marine.
The Lithuanian State Property Fund (SPF) said Trident Marine's application to participate in the bidding process was turned down after the privatization authorities had received information that the potential buyer was unreliable.
Reportedly, Trident Marine submitted the highest bid for the 66 percent stake in LJL, at LTL 33 million.
The first price announced by the State Property Fund is LTL 20.090 million.
According to information that has not been officially confirmed, a consortium consisting of Denmark's Rederiet Fabricius and Norway's Continental Ship Management bid LTL 22.1 million for the share portfolio as well as LTL 120 million investments.
The third contender - a consortium formed by Vytautas Vismantas, CEO of LJL, and the local distribution and logistics firm Sanitex and the investment banking company Prime Investment - reportedly offered to pay LTL 20.090 million, the minimum price set by the state.
(Verslo Zinios)

Ratings of Hansabankas were confirmed
International rating company Fitch Ratings left the individual rating for Hansabank, the Baltics largest financial institution, unchanged and highest in the Baltic states. Individual rating of Hansabank Group is B/C. Support rating for the bank is 2. A Lithuania-based Hansabankas was given the support rating of 2 as well.
The report on Lithuania's Hansabankas says that after 15-month reconstruction, the institution became a dynamic and universal bank that meets the needs of private and business customers.
(Lietuvos Zinios, Verslo Zinios, Respublika, Lietuvos Rytas)

Lithuania's Sonex IT group posts 29 pct revenue growth for H1
Sonex, Lithuania's leading information technologies group, reported consolidated revenues of LTL 62 million for the first half of 2003, a 29 percent rise in year-on-year terms.
Sonex, which has nine subsidiary companies, has said it expects to achieve a revenue growth over LTL 200 million this year and become the largest IT group in the Baltics.
"We are working toward our goals through expansion of the group's operations in all three Baltic countries," Arunas Bartusevicius, CEO of the Sonex Group, said in the statement.
(Verslo Zinios, Respublika)

Monday 28th of July, 2003

Lithuania's Suskystintos Dujos LPG co to raise authorized capital by EUR 1.5 million
Lithuania's liquefied gas company Suskystintos Dujos, owned by the natural gas trader Itera Lietuva, plans to place LTL 5.15 million equity issue, raising the authorized capital of the company to LTL 24.3 million.
Pursuant to the obligations to the State Property Fund (SPF), envisioned in the privatization contract of Suskystintos Dujos, the new issue would be repurchased by Itera Lietuva, Zigmantas Mackevicius, Itera Lietuva CEO, said.
Itera Lietuva purchased a 92.36 percent state-owned stake in Suskystintos Dujos for LTL 7.15 million in May of 2003. The investor pledged to invest further LTL5.15 million into the authorized capital of the company and retain 70 percent of jobs within a three-year period.
Loans from Hansabankas and Sampo as well as the asset of Suskystintos Dujos mortgaging to mentioned banks to be voted in the meeting on August 25. According to Mackevi?ius liabilities amounted to LTL 20 million will be restructured and amount of mortgaged asset will be discussed.
(Verslo Zinios)

Casino business develops
Grand Casino World, a Canadian-Lithuanian joint venture, is coming to Lithuania's gambling market. The Lithuanian State Gaming Control Commission said on Friday it had issued a license to Grand Casino World to operate table games and Category A gaming machines, that is, slot machines with unlimited jackpots. The company has plans to invest around LTL 22 million into what the company says will be the biggest casino and entertainment complex in Lithuania.
The owners have said the new casino and entertainment center in Gedimino Avenue, in central Vilnius, will have over 20 card and roulette tables, and around 100 slot machines. They said it would be the biggest establishment of its kind in Lithuania.
Olympic Casino, located in the Reval Hotel Lithuania in Vilnius, is currently the largest casino in the Baltic countries with 20 gaming tables and 119 slot machines.
Kauno Diena, Verslo Zinios

Apranga earns EUR 0.67 million in H1
Apranga, the operator of the top Lithuania's clothing retail chain, boosted pretax earnings by 69.4 percent to LTL 2.331 million in the first half of 2003.
"The result figures are better than we planned, however, we still refrain from any revisions in forecasts of annual results. The growth in profit was propelled up by aggressive expansion and higher sales, as well as improvements in management of the company," Andrius Jovaisa, finance and economy director of Apranga said.
Apranga aims to raise turnover more than LTL 100 million and to over LTL 7 million for the whole year 2003.
(Verslo Zinios)

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