Difficult recovery for major Lithuanian companies

  • 2000-12-14
VILNIUS, (BNS) - A hundred major Lithuanian companies operated more successfully in the first nine months of 2000 than during the same period in 1999. However, it's too early to announce their recovery as this year they're growing at the expense of profits, according to data provided by the country's Central Securities Depository.

Preliminary data for the country's top 100 companies shows that volumes of their sales increased by 22.5 percent on average, and their net profits rocketed up by 164 percent in the first nine months of 2000, compared with the same period in 1999.

The rapid growth of sales was determined by the oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta, without which, volumes of sales would've increased only by 7 percent. In calculating the net profit, the monopoly fixed-telephone service provider Lietuvos Telekomas should be excluded, because it earned a 159 million litas ($39.75 million) profit after selling shares in the local mobile operator Bite GSM and in Mokejimo Korteliu Sistema, which deals in payment cards. Without evaluating Mazeikiu Nafta's and Lietuvos Telekomas' activity results, the nine-month net profit, compared with the same period in 1999, would decrease by 21 percent.

Performance results of companies in the chemical sector dragged down profitability indexes the most. Lifosa, fertilizer producer and last year's leading company in this sector, incurred losses over 36 million litas due to decreased phosphate prices on the world market. Overall, losses in the chemical sector came to 58 million litas.

Lietuvos Telekomas remained the most profitable company. Its nine-month sales increased by 7 percent, and profits came to 211 million litas, a 89 percent increase over the same period last year.

Higher world oil prices determined sales of companies in the energy sector, the country's largest sector. The volume of sales of Mazeikiu Nafta, due to increased oil prices went up by 79 percent to 3.2 billion litas, however, its losses went down only by 45 percent to 87 million litas. Moreover, the company's nine-month operating losses, compared with the same period last year, grew by 80 percent to 77 million litas.

The transport sector posted profits of 32 million litas, which replaced losses of 35 million litas incurred last year, and its sales went up by over 13 percent.

Beer breweries' sales increased by 13 percent in the initial nine months of 2000, compared with the respective period in 1999. However, the ever increasing competition among the leaders in this sector, as well as among other alcohol producers, made profits of beer breweries decline by 27 percent.

A summary of turnover and profit data of the 100 major Lithuanian companies was published in the business news supplement Vartai of the daily Lietuvos rytas.