Achema's expansion plans approved

  • 2004-09-02
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The Achema Group, one of Lithuania's largest conglomerates with holdings in approximately 30 companies, recently received a boost from authorities when its recent acquisitions of 50 percent in Casino Planet and a 100 percent stake in Baltijos TV were approved.

The Lithuanian Competition Council gave the go-ahead for the Casino Planet investment on Aug. 26, after deciding that the deal, which would raise the group's shareholding in the casino operator to 100 percent, would not significantly change market concentration levels.
Virginija Dunauskiene, an Achema Group spokeswoman, said that the seller, Poland's Casino Poland World, had agreed to the deal.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed.
Casino Planet, which operates two casinos, earned 1.7 million litas (490,000 euros) from gamblers in the first six months of 2004 - half the amount it earned during the same period a year ago. The company generated 7.1 million litas in revenues and distributed 5.4 million litas in winnings.
The competition council also gave the green light for Achema to acquire 100 percent of shares in Baltijos TV - the owner of Lithuania's fourth largest channel TV4 - from Poland's Polaris Finance and Polsat Baltia.
After the deal, the Dutch-registered Polaris Finance holds 74.31 percent of Baltijos TV, while Polsat Baltic, a subsidiary of Polish Polsat TV, controls 24.88 percent in the TV channel.
TV4 ranked fourth among Lithuania's TV channels in terms of popularity, with a 37.1 percent audience in July, according to data published by the market researcher TNS Gallup.
The Achema Group's current media assets include the Lietuvos Zinios daily and two radio stations, RC2 and Radiocentras.
Established in 2001, the Achema Group, which is 51 percent-owned by Bronislovas Lubys, reported to be one of the richest men in the Baltics, reported net earnings of 56 million litas in 2003, a 76 percent surge year-on-year.