25.9.2003 13:23

In July Atria acquired the Lithuanian meat-processing company UAB Saltuva. The 
company's name has now been changed to UAB Vilniaus Mesa in line with its brand. 
The transaction was completed at the end of August. At present the company is 
building a modern production plant in Vilnius. Scheduled for completion by April 
2004, the plant will have approximately 7,500 square metres of floor space. The 
company has received a considerable investment subsidy for carrying out the 
plant project. The objective of these EU grants is to get the best food industry 
companies in the accession countries approved according to EU standards from the 
start of their membership of the EU.

Some of the companies in the meat-processing industry will nevertheless not 
manage to keep up with the pace of change and will not comply with the 
requirements of EU regulations. It is believed that the structure of the 
industry will change substantially in the years ahead. As the only western-owned 
company in this field, Atria is seeking to gain a strong foothold in these 
markets stage by stage. In all likelihood, this will call for further 

At present, Atria Group plc is carrying out a study of the Russian market. 
Atria's objective is to establish a foothold in the fast-growing markets of 
western Russia. The company has long years of experience in the export of meat 
and meat products, but in the company's view, local manufacture will be required 
in order to become firmly established. At present the Russian market is 
developing energetically. In order to reduce risks, Atria plans to team up with 
a partner for this venture.

Atria expecting a slight improvement in earnings

Atria strengthened its position in the Swedish market substantially via the 
purchase of Samfood's business operations last year. Atria Group plc's 
subsidiary Lithells AB is Sweden's second largest company in the sector, and its 
turnover is expected to reach 350 million euros this year. At the same time, the 
company's earnings are expected to improve significantly on the results posted 
in previous years.

Atria Group plc's earnings have been hit hard by worldwide overproduction and 
the prevailing low price level. Nonetheless, it is believed that the positive 
trend in expenses coupled with processed meat production and operations in 
Sweden will enable the entire company to report an earnings improvement on last 
year. The business cycle in the slaughterhouse industry is expected to improve 
sometime soon. Signs of an upswing can already be seen in central Europe, and 
this is expected to be reflected in the form of a positive price trend in the 
market no later than in the first half of next year. This will be of major 
importance to large meat processors like Atria.

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

Atria Group plc is a forward-looking food processing company that is going 
international at a fast rate. Our brands are Atria, Chick and Duke's as well as 
Sibylla, Lithells and Forssan. In 2003, Atria Group'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, UAB Vilniaus Mesa and Liha ja Säilyke Oy. Atria Group is 
the biggest company in the meat business in Finland and the largest manufacturer 
of meat products in the Nordic countries and the Baltic area.


Seppo Paatelainen


Helsinki Exchanges
Principal media