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Rannila Lietuva opened a new steel production facility near Vilnius recently, which the company hopes will help double its production capacity.
"This marks a major milestone in the eight years of our operations in Lithuania," said Gailimantas Venskutonis, CEO of Rannila Lietuva.
He said the new facility would enable the company to boost its annual output up to 6,000 tons of steel products, from just over 3,000 tons in 2002.
Venskutonis said Rannila Lietuva aims to increase sales to 39 million litas (11.3 million euros) this year, which will represent a 17 percent increase over sales in 2002.
Mikko Kivimaki, president of Rannila Lietuva's parent company, the Finland-based Rautaruukki, said the group had sound reasons for expanding its operations in Lithuania.
"Sales in the Nordic countries, the Baltic region, Russia and Poland generate about two-thirds of the total turnover of our group," he said. "Lithuania plays a rather important role in our expansion strategy, and we seek to have strong positions here."
The group invested around 7.5 million litas in the project. The construction of the new facility took about a year.
Venskutonis said the plant's workforce could increase from the current 64 employees to 70 by the end of 2003.
Rannila's main products in Lithuania are roofing systems and straight profile steel roofing. It also offers a range of other steel products. The company's sales grew 12 percent last year compared to the previous year, totaling 33.37 million litas.
Set up in 1960, Rautaruukki, Europe's third biggest steel group, is comprised of Finland's major steel production enterprises.