Lithuanian refrigerators enjoying high demand

  • 2002-11-14
  • Geoffrey Vasiliauskas

Lithuania's Snaige, the largest producer of refrigerators in the Baltics, reported an impressive 31 percent increase in revenues over the first 10 months of this year

According to preliminary results, revenues from January to October amounted to 215.6 million litas (62.5 million euros), up nearly a third from the same period last year, while sales in October alone were 21.9 million litas, an 8.2 percent increase compared with last year.

Romualdas Raudonis, acting director at Snaige, said the company expected November's and December's results to be as good as October's.

"They should equal October. Sales in the refrigerator business are seasonal. People buy more refrigerators in summer, just as they buy more television sets in winter. That's true in all markets," he said.

The Baltic region experienced their hottest summer on record this year.

Raudonis told the Baltic News Service that Snaige intended to build a new plant in Russia.

"We cannot produce refrigerators for the Russian market in Lithuania because of high customs duties. The turnover of the new plant would be quite solid and could equal that of Snaige's plant in Lithuania," Raudonis said, adding that the company is looking for a site to build the new plant.

Snaige, based in Alytus, a small town in rural southern Lithuania, is preparing to launch a new plastic component assembly line in the near future. "The new line will enable us to boost production capacity by a factor of 10," Raudonis said.

"Up until now we've produced refrigerators of various colors in smaller amounts, but we've had to order the components," he said.

"The new line is intended for sale in the West," he added.

Snaige currently exports over 92 percent of its products.

"We export to 30 countries, including all of Europe, Ukraine and America as well" Raudonis said, though the acting director declined to say in which country Snaige sold the most refrigerators.

"Our products are sold abroad under other brand names as well. For example, we produce for Electrolux," said Raudonis.

Part of Snaige's success abroad is due to its high production standards, said the general director. "We don't produce anything which doesn't meet ecological requirements in all of our markets," he said, adding that 100 percent of Snaige's products meet or beat local ecological standards.

The company announced a net profit of 22.9 million litas for the first nine months of this year (not audited), more than twice the profit for the same period a year ago. Pretax profit for the first nine months of 2002 came to 23.2 million litas.

Snaige anticipates a pretax profit of 27 million litas for the full year 2002 with the target for annual sales set at 250 million litas. The company's total investments are expected to reach 14 million litas this year.

Snaige is a blue chip stock on the Lithuanian stock exchange. The company's market capitalization currently stands at nearly 110 million litas.

Snavesta, a firm run by Hermis Fondu Valdymas (Hermis Fund Management), was Snaige's largest single shareholder at the end of September, holding 34.07 percent of the company's stock, though this number is as high as 40 percent if it were to include repo transactions.