On Karbauskis‘ business interests in Lithuania

"Agrokoncernas" headquarters
DELFI (P.Garkausko nuotr.)

According to Centre of Registers data R. Karbauskis is the owner of Agrokoncernas and its only shareholder.

The Agrokoncernas group companies own vast swathes of land, have buildings at the seaside and several hundred vehicles. Nevertheless in terms of its headquarters it can be noted for a certain modesty. The main headquarters are located in Kaunas, in a private housing area, while one of the companies belonging to the group is registered in an apartment in Kaunas despite owning prestigious plots of land.

What does the business network appear like?

The company itself declares that in total the Agrokoncernas group is made up of 50 companies of varying sizes. They employ in excess of 1,300 staff in total.

There are four main companies in the group – Agrokoncernas, Agrokoncerno Grūdai, Agrokoncerno Technika and Latagrokoncerns.

The group also contains numerous agricultural companies: Kėdainių Agrocentras, Anykščių Agrocentras, Šiaulių Agrocentras, Vilkaviškio Agrocentras, Klaipėdos Agrocentras, Pakruojo Agrocentras, Marijampolės Agrocentras, Radviliškio Agrocentras, Pasvalio Agrocentras, Vadoklių Agrocentras, Žvirblionių Agrocentras, Agroekologija, Biomasės Centras and Agrokoncerno Grupė.
It also includes companies working in various other spheres: Gargždų Agrochemija, Kėdainių Agrochemija, Rapsų Centras, Rasienių Grūdai, Gintaro Pasaulis, Žemės Ūkio Inovacijų Centras, Miežaičių Valda.

Based on Centre of Registers data these are all companies which have only one stockholder, namely Agrokoncernas has or had 100% of the stock for these companies.

Centre of Registers data also shows that Agrokoncerno Grūdai is one of the stockholders for Žemaitijos Grūdai, Jonavos Grūdai and Rokiškio Grūdai.

Company registered in a flat, but owns prestigious land

It has been stated that Agrokoncernas group companies own more than 35,000 hectares of land. A significant portion of it is designated for agricultural use, but there are more interesting cases.
According to Centre of Registers data Žemės Ūkio Inovacijų Centras, for which Agrokoncernas is the only stockholder, has at least seven plots of land in the Kaunas Reservoir Regional Park at the shore of Kaunas Reservoir, with large scale construction ongoing on the land.

Residential houses are being built on the plots of land along with ancillary structures and holiday homes.

The balance sheets provided to the Centre of Registers show that the company has property worth 3.5 million euro. Of this 2.1 million euro is the worth of the land, while the incomplete constructions are valued at 679 thousand euro. According to financial reports from the company, the profit made in 2015 was 70 thousand euro. The company has a staff of 16.

An interesting detail is that the company that owns this property is registered at a single apartment in Kaunas. The apartment belongs to Agrokoncernas. Its director is also the chairman of Naisių Žemės Ūkio Bendrovė (which also belongs to Agrokoncernas) Romualdas Nagrockis.

Headquarters are also unusual

The main headquarters of Agrokoncernas group is also fairly unusual. The company states that its headquarters is based in Kaunas, in a private house in a housing block at Užneris Street.
R. Karbauskis has declared his home address close by as well.

Agrokoncernas group presents itself as one of the largest partners to Lithuanian farmers in agrochemical services, agricultural produce resale and other branches of agriculture.

The company website states that during the 2014-2015 season the Agrokoncernas group sold goods and services worth more than 400.7 million euro.

Edgaras Šakys is the head of Agrokoncernas. According to public data the company has 265 employees and almost as many cars. Other companies in the group also have various numbers of vehicles, thus the number of vehicles owned by the group rises even more.

Heads of companies – political comrades

There are numerous Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (LVŽS) members among the heads of companies owned by Agrokoncernas, some have participated in the elections or otherwise contributed to political activity.

Klaipėdos Agrocentras and Gargždai Agrochemija are both headed by Renatas Bernikas, a member of LVŽS, who participated in the previous Seimas election.

The Director of Kėdainiai Agrochemija Adelė Štelmokienė is also the chairman of the LVŽS Kėdainiai region branch, a local council member. She participated in the recent Seimas elections as a member of the party.

Zigmas Pranckus who led Rapsų Centras is a member of the LVŽS Raseiniai branch. Raseinių Grūdai director Artūras Rauličkis ran in the 2012 Seimas elections with LVŽS.

Šiaulių Agrocentras is led by Benas Gaušys who acted as a LVŽS observer in the recent Seimas elections. Žvirblionių Agrocentras Director Violeta Kraujutienė also acted as an observer for the LVŽS during the elections. Agroekologija head Arūnas Markutis and director of both Miežaičių Valda and Biomasės Centras Kęstutis Nagrockis both did as well. Former Director of Vadoklių Agrocentras Jonas Autukevičius also acted as an observer for the LVŽS in the 2012 elections.

Public procurement – equipment for a university, grain for a ministry

Since 2006 some of the companies belonging to Agrokoncernas group have participated and won public procurement competitions initiated by government institutions.

Kėdainiai Agrochemija has won nine Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Institute of Agriculture public procurements. The company supplied the institute with fertiliser. The total value of the procurements, according to the freedata.lt portal, was almost 300 thousand euro.
All the procurements except one were won without competition, is only one supplier was chosen from. The competitions were won in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Another company – Agrokoncerno Technika – has won a public procurement from the Aleksandras Stulginskis University in summer 2016. It supplied a new combine harvester, with the value of the procurement being in excess of 106 thousand euro.

In 2006 Agrokoncerno Grūdai provided the Ministry of Agriculture with grain. The value of the procurement reached 1.4 million euro. The company was the only participant of the competition.

Renewed discussion on Politician-businessmen

R. Karbauskis has told Delfi earlier that he sees no reason to relinquish or temporarily hand stock from owned companies over to family members. The politician stated that maintaining the stocks is not in breach of the law.

“I understand, but what would it change? Would your view of me change if I transferred my stocks to my father or brother? Likely not. Due to this I believe that the requirement is not applied to anyone in Lithuania. Because it would change nothing: if you sell the business, if you sold it – you no longer have any business,” R. Karbauskis said in a Delfi conference on October 24.

Delfi has previously written about the car leasing story when former member of Seimas Greta Kildišienė drove a Range Rover which was the property of Agrokoncernas, also reminding of the so-called blind trust idea.

A blind trust is a special stock trust where individuals participating in politics hand over management of their stock in order to avoid conflicts of public and private interest. It is noted that in Lithuania the problem of politician-businessmen remains unresolved.

Response from Agrokoncernas

The Agrokoncernas group has responded to various concerns over its links to a number of scandals recently with a press release claiming that society has been misled through manipulations of terminology or simply a lack of detail, potentially in an attempt to form a negative opinion of Agrokoncernas, harming its image and business.

The press release stresses the legitimacy and frequency of Agrokoncernas providing credit and loans for business purposes and that while Ramūnas Karbauskis, as a stock holder, was familiar with company strategic planning, he is not involved in the managing of the group and is not directly involved in details of said crediting.

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