Maxima boosts 2007 sales, could become Baltics' largest company

  • 2008-01-16
  • Staff and wire reports

VILNIUS - The Maxima Group, the largest retailer in the Baltics, reported that 2007 sales reached a staggering 8.2 billion litas (2.4 billion euros) in the four countries of its operations, a surge of 30.6 percent year-on-year.
The increase puts the company, which has stores in the Baltics and Bulgaria, on pace to overtake Mazeikiu Nafta as the largest enterprise in the Baltics.
Mazeikiu Nafta, the only oil refinery in the Baltics, has yet to release its full-year 2007 data, but reported that sales over the nine month period last year were 6.8 billion litas (2 billion euros).
The refinery, which was sold to Poland's PKN Orlen at the end of 2006, has struggled to find a reliable alternative to Russian crude, which was cut off in July 2006 after the Lithuanian government decided to sell the refinery to PKN Orlen and not a Russian oil major.

What's more, for five weeks in the fourth quarter the refinery was shut down for a major maintenance overhaul, which will undoubtedly depress annual turnover.
Meanwhile, Maxima, which is owned by Vilniaus Prekyba, continues to shine. Sales of Maxima LT, the Lithuanian unit of the group, rose 28.3 percent year-on-year to 5.1 billion, while those of Maxima Latvija grew 21.2 percent to 2 billion litas.
Maxima Eesti saw its turnover soar 56.6 percent to 660.6 million litas, and Maxima Bulgaria's by 66.3 percent to 167.6 million litas.
Gintaras Marcinkevicius, Maxima Group CEO, attributed the successful performance to hard work and implementation of long-term strategy.

Janis Stakens, head of Maxima Latvija, said sales were above target for the year.
"The good results were mainly achieved thanks to successful implementation of efficiency-raising program, as well as investments in human resources. Simply put, we considerably improved conditions for our employees," he said.
In 2008 the group aims to open about 80 new outlets and boost the sales by some 20 percent to 9.8 billion litas.
The group currently employs a workforce of more than 25,000 and runs 404 stores, including 223 in Lithuania.
Mazeikiu Nafta continues to struggle from the effects of the October 2006 fire and the supply deficit. Company executives remain optimistic, however,
In December the refinery announced it had developed two possible scenarios for building an oil products pipeline from Mazeikiai to Butinge or to the port of Klaipeda.
Both scenarios are set out in a plan to expand oil products transportation that the company submitted to the Economy Ministry.

Mazeikiu Nafta, which currently delivers petroleum products to Klaipeda for export by rail, has repeatedly spoken of its wish to build a products pipeline to the port since that route of delivery would be much cheaper and more effective.