Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas has said that the government should consider ways to assist Akmenes Cementas (Akmene Cement), the only Lithuanian cement manufacturer, in expanding its production facilities as it would help to overcome shortage of cheap cement caused by fall in imports from Belarus as a result of tougher EU requirements.
"I think that we and the Economy Ministry perhaps should help, as much as the European Union allow us to, to launch another technological line with a capacity of 600,000 tons of cement, and that would solve this issue completely," he told lawmakers.
Brazauskas said that increased capacities at the Akmene plant would help overcome a shortage of cement in the country.
Economy Minister Kestutis Dauksys said that there is no shortage of cement overall, but supplies of cheap cement are not sufficient to meet the local demand.
The import of cheap cement from Belarus has fallen after the EU`s ban on the sale of cement in which the concentration of hexavalent chromium, a substance hazardous to health, exceeds permitted levels, took effect in January of this year.
Dauksys said that another reason why there is a shortage of Belarusian cement in Lithuania is that Belarus has received better offers from Russia and now ships its cement to Moscow.
Akmenes Cementas posted sales of LTL76.3m (EUR 22.16m) for the first eight months of this year, a rise of 8.9 per cent YoY.
The cement manufacturer`s net profit dropped to LTL3.956m last year, but sales increased by 16 per cent to LTL103.98m.
Akmenes Cementas has an authorized share capital of LTL46.165m.