The state-owned liquor producer, Vilniaus Degtine, which is one of four state-run alcoholic companies currently undergoing privatisation, reported a preliminary net profit of LL450,000 (€130,435) for the first half of 2003, against a loss of LL175,900 in first half of 2002.

Degtine's turnover for the first six months increased by 2.8% to LL11.65m. In volume terms, spirits sales rose by 2.9% to 1.455m litres, the company said.

Last month, the Lithuanian State Property Fund, which is running the privatisation, opened negotiations with Belvedere Dystrybucja, the Polish subsidiary of the French group Belvedere, for the sale of an 82.27% stake in Vilniaus Degtine. Belvedere is reported to have offered in excess of LL20m for the majority stake.