Ingka Beheer, a Dutch subsidiary of Sweden's furniture giant Ikea, has applied to the Lithuanian Competition Council for permission to buy shares in the Lithuanian chipboard and furniture manufacturer Giriu Bizonas. Ingka Beheer is seeking regulatory approval to purchase up to 100 percent of shares in the company, which is now controlled by Vakaru Medienos Grupe (Western Timber Group, or VMG) and Vilniaus Baldai (Vilnius Furniture). Sigitas Paulauskas, one of the owners of VMG, which works solely to orders provided by Ikea, said they would work on finalizing the details of the deal. Paulauskas, who is also the board chairman of VMG, said that he could not say at the moment what stake in Giriu Bizonas the Swedes were going to buy. Giriu Bizonas is based in Kazlu Ruda, in southwestern Lithuania. "I am glad to see such an investor arriving: neither our banks nor our companies have so much money. In Kazlu Ruda, they intend to expand the production of both furniture and chipboard. The deal will also include a further expansion of this industry in Lithuania and an alternative in Belarus," Paulauskas said. Ikea is also reportedly interested in a new fiberboard and cellular furniture factory that VMG plans to build in Alytus.
Specialists in Lithuania are handling accounts for Swedish banking giant, SEB, since the Account Management Operations unit moved from Stockholm to Vilnius. The new Lithuanian-based unit employs almost 70 staff and will help the SEB group to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Last year some of the group's operations were moved from Sweden to a similar operations center in Riga.