9.7.2003 10:50

Atria will acquire the shares outstanding in the Lithuanian meat company UAB 
Saltuva. At present, Saltuva sells and distributes Vilniaus Mesos Kombinatas 
(VMK) products, which are well known amongst Lithuanians. Saltuva is building a 
modern meat processing plant in Vilnius. The plant will be completed next summer 
and the company has received substantial investment aid for it. The majority of 
the shares are owned by the company's present managing director, who will stay 
on in the company's management after the acquisition. 

The acquisition of Saltuva is Atria's first step towards establishing a strong 
position in Lithuania. Its market, with 3.5 million inhabitants, is the largest 
in the Baltic countries, and no other meat companies in western ownership 
operate there yet. No company holds a dominant market position in Lithuania and 
it is believed that once the country joins the EU the market structure will 
change substantially and operations will become centralised following the spread 
of retail chains. Due to their differing consumption habits, each of the Baltic 
countries has its own market, and thus products are manufactured nationally in 
each of the countries. Saltuva's market share is currently about 10% of the 
market and its turnover is about EUR 10 million. Atria believes that it is well-
poised to improve the company's position in the next few years. 

Atria is strong in Finland and Sweden 

Atria's domestic markets are Finland and Sweden. It is the largest company in 
its field in Finland. Of its turnover of slightly over EUR 800 million this 
year, over EUR 400 million is accounted for by Atria Oy, which is responsible 
for domestic business operations, and EUR 40 million by Liha ja Säilyke Oy, 
while Lithells AB's turnover will grow to about EUR 340 million this year. 
Sweden accounts for in excess of 40% of the Group's present functions.

Last autumn, Atria's Swedish subsidiary Lithells AB acquired the meat company 
Samfood AB, which had posted a loss for numerous years running under its former 
owner, the Federation of Swedish Farmers LRF. After the post-acquisition 
integration in the autumn, Atria has successfully revitalised the company's 
operations. Lithells AB and all its subsidiaries will most likely achieve 
substantially better earnings levels than last year. In the retail market, the 
company holds a market share of about one-quarter, including the brands it 
manufactures for sale under the stores' own brands; its market share is close to 
that of the market leader, Swedish Meats, which is currently loss-making. 

Weak market for pork 

In Atria Oy's domestic operations, profitability has improved in all business 
areas apart from slaughtering. In the case of pork processing in particular, 
strong overproduction in all of Europe and Finland has weakened the price level 
significantly and prevented healthy financial performance. The business climate 
for pork is expected to improve at some point next year. 

The objective: a third domestic market area 

Atria Group plc's acquisition in Lithuania is part of Atria's strategy of 
gradually establishing a third market area in addition to Finland and Sweden. In 
addition to Lithuania, Atria is looking into opportunities for developing 
production operations in Russia as well. This may be carried out alone or 
alternatively a suitable partner will be sought for the project. 

Further information: Seppo Paatelainen, President, tel +358 400 661 742.

Atria Group plc is a forward-looking meat processing company that is going 
international at a rapid clip. Our brands are Atria, Chick and Duke's as well as 
Sibylla, Lithells and Forssan. In 2003, Atria Group plc's turnover is expected 
to rise to EUR 800 million, of which Sweden will account for about EUR 350 
million. We employ 3700 people on average. The largest companies of the Atria 
Group are Atria Oy, Lithells AB and Liha ja Säilyke Oy.


Seppo Paatelainen


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