Ekranas files for bankruptcy, Vilniaus Vingis braces for worst

  • 2006-04-12
  • From wire reports

FUZZY SCREEN: After hanging by financial strings for more than a year now, the Lithuanian television tube producer Ekranas officially filed for bankruptcy on April 7.

VILNIUS - The TV tube manufacturer Ekranas, one of Lithuania's premier companies, filed for bankruptcy on April 7, citing unfavorable trends on the global electronics market. The TV tube manufacturer said it was depleted of working capital and no longer able to pay suppliers and back loans, nor meet other obligations.

Ekranas said in a statement to the Vilnius Stock Exchange that CEO Eimutis Zvybas had asked the Panevezys Regional Court to open bankruptcy proceedings.
The news comes as a mild shock after the company had welcomed an upturn in demand for TV tubes and announced that its financial picture looked more optimistic. But the company said it could not operate due to a shortage of working capital. It also said that a glass melting furnace failure had aggravated the situation.

Ekranas, which is located in Panevezys, posted a loss of 110.3 million litas (32 million euros) for 2005, compared to a net profit of 1.3 million litas in 2004. Sales dropped by 27.3 percent to 339.6 million litas last year.
The company said it would ask the VSE to move its shares from the blue chip Official List to the Current List. The bourse asked the financially troubled producer to consider removing its shares from the blue chip list in early March.
Meanwhile, Vilniaus Vingis, a component electronics manufacturer, said it had halted the supply of deflection yokes to Ekranas.
"Ekranas has not bought anything today, and we do not know what will be tomorrow. Everything is absolutely unclear 's nobody tells us anything," said CEO Vaclovas Sleinota.

Vilniaus Vingis reduced the output of deflection yokes, which were still purchased by a Samsung plant in Hungary and a Thomson plant in Poland.
Sleinota was unwilling to comment on the company's future plans. "The decisions will be made and announced by the new board," he said.
The new board, which is likely to include Nerijus Dagilis, chairman of investment company Hermis Capital, will be elected on May 13.

Vilniaus Vingis posted losses of 5.6 million litas in 2005 as sales slumped 33.8 percent to 81.2 million litas. The company blamed the poor performance results on rising copper prices, severance payments to employees and a general downturn in the market.
As of September last year, Ekranas' major shareholders included Profilo Sanayi Ve Ticaret (14.9 percent stake), Farimex (13.28), Redoak Investment (12.77) and E.P.I. Electronet Production and Investments (8.09).