Foreign cement cuts local sales

  • 1999-11-18
VILNIUS - October figures show that cheap imports continued to trim
the turnover of cement producer Akmenes Cementas, Lithuania's only
cement producer.

The northwest Lithuanian plant sold 64,000 tons of cement last month,
19,000 tons less than a year ago. About 36,000 tons of the sales went
to foreign buyers.

"The company continues to suffer from the import of cheap Belarussian
and Ukraine cement into this country," Akmenes Cementas Director
Pranas Kristopaitis said.

The Akmene-based company's 10-month sales shrank by around 100,000
tons, year on year. Akmenes Cementas posted a nine-month net profit
of 6.4 million litas ($1.6 million) on a turnover of 90 million
litas. According to preliminary data, the company added 13 million
litas to its turnover during October, raising its profit by 1 million

The company's local shareholders have been at odds with the Norwegian
investor, Selvaag Gruppen, over a number of issues: the distribution
of last year's profit of 12.48 million litas, dividend payment and

Despite the Norwegians' objections, local shareholders voted to
approve the purchase of equipment worth $800,000 from Denmark's F.L.
Smidth Co. during a meeting on Nov. 8.

"We intend to acquire the equipment for cement furnaces from the
[Danish] company by way of leasing. Half of the investment sum has
already been paid," said Akmenes Cementas Board Chairman Vytis
Anuzis. Anuzis added that termination of the contract with the Danish
company would be disadvantageous to Akmenes Cementas.

The Norwegians, who brought their lawyers along, demanded during the
meeting that the company's registered share capital be raised through
a new share issue, and opposed investment in the equipment.