RIGA - The Nelss concern, a major exporter of timber and construction materials, announced that it increased sales 20 percent to 66.2 million lats (94.2 million euros) last year while profits plummeted to 118,000 lats.
Finance director Evita Janus-kevica said the steep fall in profit was due to the construction of a new plant for manufacturing wooden windows.
"Last year can be evaluated as positive, as sales saw a considerable rise," she said, "but the decline in profits was mainly related to the construction of the new Nelss Logi wooden windows plant, where profits were invested."
She added that the final touches were being applied to the new plant and that it would start operating in the near future. The facility is expected to improve the company's bottom line significantly.
Last year Nelss opened two new stores 's the Centrex shopping center in Riga and the Nelss store in Daugavpils 's and more are on the way.
"It is already clear now that this year two more stores will open, but our market expansion will not end at that," said Januskevica. "We are planning more stores, but it is too early to speak about them."
Speaking about this year's prospects, she noted that 2005 would be an interesting year, as the costs of transport and selling output are rising and competition is stiffening.
"Just as in previous years, this year will also see the arrival of other, especially foreign, construction material retailers. But we are committed to retain our market share," said Januskevica.
In 2003 the company posted 52.65 million lats in sales with profits of over 1 million lats.
Founded in 1993, the Nelss concern now consists of the following companies: Nelss Logi, Nelss TT, Lizings and Mambo. It is owned by two individuals: Uldis Asaris (40 percent) and Andris Sihtors (60 percent).