Akmenes Cementas, Lithuania’s only cement manufacturer, posted sales of 12.324 million litas (EUR 3.57m) for the first five months of 2005, a decline of 2 per cent from the year-earlier figure of 12.556 million litas. In May alone, the sales shrank by 3.8 per cent, year-on-year, to 32.29 million litas.
"Although the State Non Food Products Inspectorate (VNMPI) has banned imports of bulk cement with significant content of harmful substances, i.e. hexavalent chromium, from Belarus, imports of packed cement with the same content of harmful stuff has not been prohibited," said Arturas Zaremba, Akmenes Cementas CEO. According to VNMPI data, the content of hexavalent chromium, which may do harm to human skin, in the cement imported from Belarus, Russia or Ukraine exceeds the permissible threshold by 3-to-7 times. Meanwhile, Akmenes Cementas has been investing heavily into the purchase of special equipment so as to reduce the concentration of hexavalent chromium in its products.
Amid a rise in competition with imported cement on domestic market, the Naujoji Akmene-based cement producer has been raising exports steadily. Exports comprised 41 per cent of total output in the first five months of 2005, up from 30 per cent in the same period last year. "We mostly ship our products to Latvia, Finland and Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad, these export destinations have remained unchanged for a number of years," Zaremba noted.
The cement manufacturer posted a net profit of 3.956 million litas in 2004, down from a net profit of 5.124 million litas in 2003. Annual revenues grew by 16.3 per cent 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.