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Lithuanian Companies Not Transparent Enough, Central Bank Says

Lithuanian companies aren’t open enough about directors’ pay, strategy and governance policies to win investors’ trust, the central bank said.

None of the companies with securities listed on the Nasdaq OMX Vilnius stock exchange complies fully with the bourse’s governance code and most fail to explain deviations, Lietuvos Bankas in Vilnius, the capital, said today on its website.

“Adherence to the fundamental principle of ‘comply or explain,’ while improving every year, is still not sufficient,” Lietuvos Bankas said in its report. It said compliance was weakest on revealing directors’ compensation and strategic plans, including independent members on boards and supervisory councils, and ensuring small shareholder rights.

Shares of 33 companies trade on the Vilnius exchange, the most active of which in October were clothing retailer Apranga AB (APG1L), investment company Invalda AB (IVL1L) and communications firm TEO LT AB. (TEO1L) The combined value of all listed shares has fallen 5.3 percent this year to 2.98 billion euros ($3.9 billion) even as the economy expanded 3.5 percent in January to September.

The exchange also lists 20 million euros of bonds issued by local units of Nordic banks SEB and DNB, and 1.6 billion euros of Lithuanian government debt securities.

“Suitable corporate governance is an important factor for attracting both local and foreign investments,” the central bank said.

It said Lithuanian companies sometimes falsely say they have published information on wages, strategy and other key issues on their website when in fact the documents were not published or were only placed on the website very briefly. Other times they publish information that is too “abstract” to be meaningful for stakeholders, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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