Analytics, Lithuania, Markets and Companies

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 04.07.2020, 08:10

Expert: we're going back to dark ages in terms of state enterprise management in Lithuania

BC, Vilnius, 12.11.2019.Print version
The Lithuanian government's plans to delist the shares of Energijos Skirstymo Operatorius (ESO) ir Ignitis Gamyba (formerly known as Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba), subsidiaries of the state-owned energy group Ignitis Grupe (formerly known as Lietuvos Energija), from the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange are sending a new signal that Lithuania is renouncing the Western principles of management of state enterprises, financial analyst Marius Dubnikovas says LETA/BNS.

"State-controlled enterprises in Lithuania are gradually becoming entities not managed based on Western principles. We have seen already how the board of Lietuvos Pastas (Lithuanian Post) was removed without any explanation, and ESO and Ignitis Gamyba's delisting is another step in that direction. (…) It's a very bad decision taking us back into the dark ages when state enterprises didn’t know what a stock exchange was," Dubnikovas, chair of the Tax Commission at the Lithuanian Business Confederation, told.

In his words, with such decisions, the ruling parties are probably trying to maintain as much influence on the management of state-owned companies as possible, but the Western world no longer acts like that.

"In both the EU and the US, all such companies are listed. It’s viewed as a value and as the public's right to have influence on their activity. We are more looking to the East where the state wants fully control companies, although, for example, in Russia energy companies are successfully listed on the stock exchange," Dubnikovas said.

He's critical of explanations by Ignitis Grupe's representatives that the delisting of subsidiaries would not undermine transparency as it would be ensured by Ignitis Grupe that lists green bond issues on the Vilnius and Luxembourg exchanges.

"It's an attempt to get out of the situation as they just needed to tell investors and the public something. I have doubts that the delisting decision was made by Ignitis Grupe as it was probably done by its shareholder, the Finance Ministry. I believe Ignitis Grupe itself realizes that it's a bad decision," Dubnikovas said.

Ignitis Grupe announced it's initiating shareholder meetings and would propose delisting ESP and Ignitis Gamyba from the Vilnius stock exchange. Scheduled for Dec 4, the meetings are only a formality as Ignitis Grupe owns 94.79% of ESO and 96.82% of Ignitis Gamyba.

ESO and Ignitis Gamyba are listed on the Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange which halted trading in their shares in response to their requests.

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