Lithuania: Achema slams law on large deals, Telia Lietuva sees no problem

Foto: DELFI

Lithuania's fertilizer manufacturer Achema criticizes a law opening the way for authorities to vet large deals by it and two more large privately-owned companies.

The telecoms company Telia Lietuva says that it has no problem implementing the law and the crude refiner Orlen Lietuva refrains from comments, at least for now.

Gintaras Balčiūnas, deputy chairman of the management board at Achemos Grupė (Achema Group), told BNS that the company continued to regard the law as "superfluous regulation".

"We do not approve of such business regulation. It is completely unclear why this is being done. The regulation is definitely superfluous," Balčiūnas told BNS.

"Issues of importance for national security can be resolved by other means if a problem does exist, but nobody identifies that problem for us," he said.

Giedrė Kaminskaitė-Salters, general counsel and head of public affairs at Telia Lietuva, told BNS that the company considered the new law expedient.

"In principle, we approve of the adopted law, which, globally speaking, sets very logical and sound goals. As far as Telia Lietuva is concerned, we see no obstacles to its implementation," she said.

According to Kaminskaitė-Salters, if the law had been in force several years ago, the 220-million acquisition by the company, then named Teo LT, of the mobile operator Omnitel from its shareholder, Sweden's Telia Company, would have been its only deal above the 10-percent revenue threshold.

Orlen Lietuva spokesman Tomas Digaitis told BNS that the company was analyzing the law and would make no further comment for the time being.

A spokeswoman for Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė confirmed to BNS on Wednesday that the head of state had signed into law the bill opening the way for authorities to vet large deals by the three privately-owned companies and to block deals that are deemed a threat to national security.

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.

Experts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will carefully assess the provisions of the law before deciding whether to invite Lithuania to join the organization this year.

Source: BNS
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