Akmenes Cement to borrow for expansion

Akmenes Cement to borrow for expansion
Published: 22 May 2007

Lithuania’s only cement manufacturer Akmenes Cementas is borrowing LTL212m (EUR61.45m) from a syndicate of banks to finance the biggest modernisation project in its history, which involves shifting from wet to dry cement production technology. The syndicate is led by SEB Vilniaus Bankas and includes DnB Nord, Hansabankas, Sampo and Snoras.

Akmenes Cementas is to contribute LTL78m from its own resources to the project, which is estimated to cost a total of LTL290m. The company expects to complete the project by 2011.

The new production technology will enable the plant to increase its annual production capacity by one-fourth to 1.5Mta and meet the growing demand for cement. It will also help reduce environmental pollution and comply with international efficiency standards.

Akmenes Cementas annual net profit soared to LTL25.1m litas last year, from LTL2.8m the previous year.

This year, the cement manufacturer aims to increase cement production by around five per cent and targets a rise of up to 15 per cent in annual sales. It posted revenue of LTL188.04m last year, with cement sales exceeding 1Mta.

Four Lithuanian private individuals hold a combined stake of 51 percent in Akmenes Cementas. Cemex also has 33.95 per cent of voting shares through a subsidiary company.

Akmenes Cementas has recently halted exports to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and Finland as it battles to meet surging demand on domestic market. "We seek to meet surging demand on Lithuania’s market, that is why the agreements on exports to Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Finland have not been extended," Arturas Zaremba, Akmenes Cementas CEO, told BNS reporters.

The company`s output, excluding approximately 10 per cent exported to Latvia, was being marketed in Lithuania, Zaremba said. Deliveries to the neighboring Baltic country could not be suspended since the exports agreement would remain in effect by the end of the year, he explained, adding that exports to Latvia might be stopped from 2008.

Earlier the company said its revenues totalled 49.2 million litas (Euro 14.26m) in the first four months of 2007, a surge of 62.5 per cent from the year-earlier figure of 30.3 million litas.