Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said on Thursday that the government should consider ways to assist Akmenes Cementas, the only Lithuanian cement manufacturer, in expanding its production facilities. "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 600,000t of cement, and that would solve this issue completely," he told lawmakers. Brazauskas said that increased capacities at the Akmene plant which is located in Naujoji Akmene, in northwestern Lithuania, 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 76.3 million litas (Eur22.16m) for the first eight months of this year, a rise of 8.9 per cent year-on-year. The cement manufacturer’s net profit dropped to 3.956 million litas last year, but sales increased by 16 percent to 103.98 million litas. Akmenes Cementas has an authorized share capital of 46.165 million litas. Cemex, the Mexican cement giant, controls a 33.95 per cent stake through a subsidiary company. Four Lithuanian private individuals hold a combined stake of 51 per cent.