President signs bill on large deals by Orlen Lietuva, Achema, Telia Lietuva
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has signed into law a bill that opens the way for authorities to vet large deals by three privately-owned companies -- Orlen Lietuva, Achema and Telia Lietuva -- and to block deals that are deemed a threat to national security.
"The president has signed the law," her spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė told BNS on Wednesday.
The law allows vetting a deal by an enterprise of strategic importance to national security if it exceeds 10 percent of its annual revenue. If the government decides that a deal does not meet national security interests, it will not be allowed to go through.
The Law on Enterprises and Facilities of Strategic Importance to National Security and Other Enterprises of Importance to Ensuring National Security will also apply to large state-owned companies -- from Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) to Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports).
The Seimas passed the law on Jan. 12 after lengthy discussions, which centered around the question of whether or not the state is interfering too much with privately-owned businesses.
The telecommunications company Telia Lietuva is owned by Sweden's Telia Company and the crude refiner Orlen Lietuva is owned by Poland's state-run oil group Orlen. Lyda Lubiene, a Lithuanian national, is the majority shareholder of Achemos Grupė (Achema Group), which owns the fertilizer manufacturer Achema.
OECD experts will carefully assess the provisions of the law before deciding whether to invite Lithuania to join the organization this year.