VILNIUS - The president and biggest shareholder of Lithuania's paper and cardboard producer Grigeo admits that the untreated industrial wastewater scandal in Klaipeda will have a negative impact on the group's business.
"It will affect our business, even though this only occurred in one of our eight companies," Gintautas Pangonis said at a news conference on Thursday.
Following reports that the group's cardboard factory in Klaipeda allegedly released untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon, three Lithuanian retail chains – Iki, Senukai and Norfa - said they were spending purchases of the group's products.
Pangonis says the customers' reaction is understandable.
"I understand the reaction perfectly well, and we'll do our best to remedy the situation so that our customers understand that this was not tolerated," he said.
Pangonis said he had no information yet showing that the pollution scandal had prompted a reaction from Grigeo's business partners in export markets.
Grigeo said in a statement to the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange on Wednesday that the situation in Klaipeda "has no material impact on the operations and results of AB Grigeo Group".
Prosecutors in the port city said on Tuesday they had launched an investigation on suspicions that Grigeo Klaipeda had been discharging untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon through a special pipe, causing millions of euros' worth of damage to the environment.
Trading in Grigeo shares, quoted on the blue-chip Main List of the Vilnius stock exchange, was suspended at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday after their price had dropped by more than 9 percent, and has since not been resumed.