Observer "Lietuva"
WEEK 45th

Saturday 8th of November, 2003

Lithuanian cinema studio sold to Lithuanian investor
The winner of the Lithuanian Cinema Studio privatisation is Telivesta, subsidiary of Hermis Fond? Valdymas, the company that controls AB Snaige and AB Vilniaus Vingis. The exact amount to be paid for the Cinema Studio was not announced.
The State Property Fund says four candidates presented their offers for the tender. All of them were ready to pay more than LTL 7 million for the 100 percent stake in the Cinema Studio. The privatisation is expected to save the loss-making company and bring the investments needed for the modernization of the cinema company.

Anyksciu Vynas bought 23,600 tons of raw produce
Lithuania's largest wine producer Anyksciu Vynas completed the purchase of this season's fruit and berry crop. The company bought up a total of 23,550 tons of raw produce.
The amount of fruits and berries bought up this year is the largest over the last five years. This year, the company bought 23,400 tons of apples, 58.5 tons of cranberries, 68.6 tons of black and red currant, and 22.5 tons of other berries.
Jonas Karvelis, production manager at Anyksciu Vynas, says the company was able to produce more production this year due to the high quality of the raw produce. Besides, the company freshened the store of berry and fruit semimanufactures.
Part of this year's raw produce will be used for production of natural and special technology wine meant for the local market and export. Other raw produce was processed into concentrated juice, apple flavour and squeeze of dried apples that are exported to the Western European market.

The chocolate war has ended
One can again find products of one of the largest confectionaries in the Baltic states, Kraft Foods Lietuva, on the shelves of the shops controlled by the largest retail operator in the Baltic states, VP Market.
Ignas Staskevicius, the CEO of VP Market, has reported that the company had signed a new agreement with Kraft Foods Lietuva. "We can presently offer not only a wide assortment but also good prices", he said.
The conflict between the two companies started at the end of August after VP Market began trading in much cheaper coffee Jacobs, produced in Poland. Later on, sweets and potato chips produced by Kraft Foods Lietuva disappeared from VP Market chain.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Friday 7th of November, 2003

Young Brits want more entertainment
Owners of bars, restaurants and hotels have noticed an increased flow of young men from Great Britain, who come to party in Vilnius. Representatives of the Lithuanian Airlines say that they have noticed that the Thursday-Friday and Sunday-Monday flight from and to London are more popular than the flights on other days.
Linas Ceikus, representative of, the company that organizes trips to Lithuania, says most tourists stay in Lithuania for two nights. They usually come in groups of 10-15 people.
Ceikus says that the Brits want more entertainment in Lithuania. They often choose carts and shooting for their leisure time, but also ask for something new and attractive. Ceikus expects the business to grow even more next year.
(Verslo Zinios)

Gas imports grow this year
Lithuania imported 2.302 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the first ten months of 2003, an increase of 13.2 percent versus imports of 2.033 billion cubic meters in the January-to-October period of 2002.
In October imports of natural gas reached 262 million cubic meters, representing a decline of 6 percent from October 2002, Lietuvos Dujos has reported.
Lietuvos Dujos shipped in some 341 million cubic meters of natural gas in January-October, accounting for 15 percent of total gas imports. The remaining volume of natural gas was imported by Dujotekana and Achema.
This year Lithuania is seen purchasing some 2.95 billion cubic meters of natural gas abroad, Lietuvos Dujos has forecasted.
(Verslo Zinios)

Valio comes back with yoghurts
Finnish company Valio is attempting a comeback to the Lithuanian market with a new product. Retail chains started selling Gefilus products with milk bacteria that aim at the leading position in the market. The Finnish manufacturer says it bases its ambitious plans on low prices and market research. The results of the research revealed that Lithuanians are open to novelties and take care of their health, which means that Gefilus products, kefir and yoghurt, should attract their attention as well.
AB Pieno Zvaigzdes has been producing products with bifidobacteria for several years now and is the leader of the market segment. The company is not afraid of the competition and says the Lithuanian customer is quite inert and one would have to explain in detail the benefits of the new product for one's health.
Several years ago Valio lost the competition in the ice-cream market and had to retreat from Lithuania.
(Verslo Zinios)

Thursday 6th of November, 2003

Beer market shrinks by 8 percent
Lithuanian brewers recorded a 7.8 percent drop in domestic beer sales, to 205.56 million litres, for the first ten months of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002.
The Lithuanian Brewers' Association, which unites ten major local breweries, has released data showing that total domestic beer sales for October dropped by 8.9 percent, year-on-year, to 17.62 million litres.
The market decline is blamed primarily on unfavourable weather conditions.
Svyturys-Utenos Alus remained Lithuania's number one beer producer despite a 9.8 percent year-on-year drop in ten-month beer sales, to 100.1 million litres.
The Kalnapilis-Tauras Group, majority owned by The Danish Brewery Group, was second with beer sales of 47.35 million litres, down by 16.6 percent on the same time last year. Gubernija, which is based in the northern Lithuanian town of Siauliai, moved into third position this year, raising its ten-month beer sales by 3.7 percent, year-on-year, to 21.48 million litres.
(Respublika, Lietuvos Zinios)

Shares of Rokiskio Suris attract foreign investors
Finnish fund Danske Kapital bought an undisclosed amount of shares in Rokiskio Suris, one of the largest milk processing companies in Lithuania. The fund has earlier invested into oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta, telecommunications company Lietuvos Telekomas, manufacturer of freezers Snaige and other Lithuanian companies.
Dalius Trumpa, chief executive of Rokiskio Suris, says the company's shares have been popular among foreign investors recently. He says the investors usually do not contact the company and do not ask for additional information.
Since early August, the price of Rokiskio Suris shares increased by 47 percent up to LTL 48. The attention of the investors and brokers is attracted by the rumours about the possible withdrawal of European Bank for Development and Reconstruction, which holds 27.15 percent stake in Rokiskio Suris.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Turnover of Zemaitijos Pienas grows
Zemaitijos Pienas, one of the leading Lithuania's dairy companies, raised sales by 3.6 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 202.18 million in the first nine months of 2003. Sales grew both on domestic and export markets.
Zemaitijos Pienas dairy group, which comprises the Telsiai dairy, Klaipedos Pienas, Silutes Rambynas and Zemaitijos Pieno Zaliava, has not revealed the final consolidated financial results.
Zemaitijos Pienas earned LTL 4.3 million in unaudited profit in the nine months of 2003, an increase of 29.5 percent from the respective period of 2002.
(Verslo Zinios)

Wednesday 5th of November, 2003

Rosy lookout of the Lithuanian economy
Financial analysts say that the lookout of the Lithuanian economy is very good. Gitanas Naus?da, president's advisor at Vilniaus Bankas (VB), says the growth of the Lithuanian economy in the second half of the year will be just a little slower than in the first half. Experts of VB have increased the forecast of GDP growth from 6.5 to 7.5 percent as well. They also claim that the average salary in Lithuania should rise over the next two years.
Experts of Hansabank Markets see Lithuanian economy growing rapidly next year as well. They predict that the Lithuanian GDP should increase by 5.7 percent next year, while the growth should reach 6 percent in 2005. According to Hansabank Markets, the membership in the European Union will have a positive long-term effect on the economy of the three Baltic countries.

Snaige chooses Kaliningrad
AB Snaige, one of the largest manufacturers of freezers in Eastern Europe, has refused from its plans to start production in Slovakia and is working on a new project in Kaliningrad.
AB Snaige had earlier purchased Novy Calex plant in Slovakia and planned to move there part of the production process. However, the company decided that the newly built plant in Kaliningrad meets the company's needs better. The plant in Russia will be launched early next year.
The projected capacity of the new plant is 350,000 freezers per year. The investments into the plant reach LTL 40 million. Snaige expects that the successful realization of this project will allow the company to occupy 10-20 percent of the Russian freezer market.
Snaige posted pre-audit profit of LTL 25.737 million for the first nine months of the year. It is an increase of 10.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
(Verslo Zinios)

Vilniaus Pergale invested into modern production line
Vilniaus Pergale, one of the largest confectionary companies in Lithuania, invested LTL 1.5 million into the new production line. The line will be used for production of the new assorted sweets. The modern Italian production line was assembled a month ago and is working at full capacity now.
The privatisation process of Vilniaus Pergale was completed earlier this year. The company plans to increase its sales by some 5 percent in 2003 and earn a profit.
The turnover of Vilniaus Pergale was LTL 54.328 million in 2002, while the net profit was LTL 344,600.
(Verslo Zinios)

Tuesday 4th of November, 2003

LIC became shareholder of Zaliasis Taskas
Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (LCI), which unites 48 associations of various industry fields, became the shareholder of the packaging waste recovery company Zaliasis Taskas (Green Point).
LCI signed the share purchase agreement on Monday and joined other shareholder of Zaliasis Taskas – Bennet Distributors, Mineraliniai Vandenys, Nestle Baltics, Svyturys-Utenos Alus, Pieno Zvaigzdes, Rokiskio Suris, Tetra Pak Lietuva and others.
Starting from January 1, producers and importers of packed products are responsible for packaging waste recovery and treatment. They must pay a certain package tax or recover a certain amount of packages.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

Turnover of Vilniaus Vingis down 19 percent
Vilniaus Vingis, one of Europe's leading producers of deflection yokes for picture tubes with a one-fourth market share, reported sales of LTL 104.1 million for the first ten months of 2003, a decline of 19 percent versus the January-through-October period of 2002.
Exports accounted for 69.7 percent of total turnover or LTL 72.6 million, whereas in the first ten months of 2002 the respective figures came in at 69.5 percent and LTL 89.3 million. In October sales reached LTL 12 million, slumping by 12.4 percent from October of 2002.
Vilniaus Vingis trimmed its full-year sales forecasts to LTL 120 million in late September, citing the continuing downturn on the TV tube market. According to latest forecasts, full-year sales will reach at least LTL 120 million, 21.3 percent compared to 2002.
Profit forecasts have been left unchanged with net earnings expected to come in at LTL 9 million amid stronger gains on financial and investment transactions.
(Verslo Zinios)

Apranga operates profitably and plans growth
Apranga, Lithuania's top retail clothing chain, has said its total sales for the first ten months of 2003, including sales in Latvia, surged by 27.9 percent, year-on-year, to LTL 76.323 million. Apranga's sales for October reached LTL 12.072 million, a 27.4 percent increase over the same period a year ago
The Vilnius-based company targets a net profit of over LTL 7 million for the full year 2003 with total revenues projected at LTL 100 million, including LTL 4 million in revenues from its Latvian operations.
Apranga reported a pretax profit of LTL 3.49 million for the first nine months of 2003, a 69.1 percent growth in year-on-year terms.
Apranga's chain in Lithuania and Latvia is expected to expand to 28 stores by the end of this year, including 5 stores in Latvia.
(Verslo Zinios)

Monday 3rd of November, 2003

Rokiskio Suris in negotiations with the Italians
Rokiskio Suris, one of the largest milk processing companies in Lithuania, is in negotiations with one of the largest Italian milk and meat processing companies concerning the production and distribution of the products under the trademark of the Italian company. The name of the Italian company is not disclosed.
Dalius Trumpa, production manager of Rokiskio Suris, says the company may offer not only cheese of the highest quality, but also several novelties that have never been sold in the Italian market. According to Trumpa, the negotiations might be completed next year, when Lithuania becomes the official member of the European Union.
The Italians are not the only ones interested in Rokiskio Suris. Over the last several days, milk processing companies from Norway and the Netherlands have also shown interest in the Lithuanian company.

Lithuania – bridgehead to the West for Konvers Grupp
Russian financial group Konvers Grupp, the new owner of Snoras bank, plans to use Snoras and Lithuania for entry into the neighbouring markets. Konvers Grupp says its priority fields will be banking and construction.
Julian Krasnopolski, president of Konvers Grupp, says the bank will start its expansion next year with the expansion to the Latvian market. According to Krasnopolski, the group is now creating the international banking system and is considering purchasing property of the banks in Europe and Asia.
Besides Snoras bank, Konvers Grupp controls several other companies in Lithuania. One of them, insurance company Snoro Garantas will also be used for expansion to the European countries.
(Verslo Zinios)

Lukoil would be interested in Mazeikiu Nafta
Russian company Lukoil would consider buying Lithuania's oil refinery Mazeiki? Nafta if Yukos, which is currently in trouble with the Russian authorities, decided to sell its controlling share package.
Ivanas Paleicikas, head of Lukoil Baltija, says economic calculations show that Lukoil needs an oil refinery in the region and sooner or later it will have it. It is not clear if the refinery will be in Lithuania, Belarus, Kaliningrad or somewhere else, says Paleicikas. He notes that no talks have been held between representatives of Lukoil and Yukos yet.
The audit of Mazeikiu Nafta shows that the company's 9-month profit this year was LTL 117.932 million. The company had a loss of LTL 174.8 million over the same period last year.
(Lietuvos Zinios)

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