Buyer interested in gas utility share named

Economics Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers) confirmed Tuesday in an interview with Latvian Radio that according to unofficial information, the fund "Marguerite", which is owned by several European banks, is the prospective buyer for German company E.ON Ruhrgas share in national gas utility company Latvijas Gaze.

The minister confirmed that an in-depth analysis concluded it would be inexpedient for the state to acquire the German company’s minority-interest stake in Latvijas Gaze, however stressed that the buyer must not be related to Russian gas supplier Gazprom.

Latvia has the option to preempt the selection of the buyer by E.ON Ruhrgas, should it object to the choice for any reason, however the German company reserves the right of selection to whom to sell in any case.

Last week Prime minister Laimdota Straujuma hinted that a buyer had been found, but declined to name any details in the interests of confidentiality. However, news weekly Ir had previously reported the possibility that the prospective buyer was indeed the Marguerite Fund.

The full name of the Marguerite Fund is "The 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure".

The fund's website contains more information about precisely what it is and can be seen here.

It was "established with the backing of six major European financial institutions to make capital-intensive infrastructure investments and will target attractive long-term and stable risk-adjusted returns," the site says.

"Each of the six Core Sponsors has committed €100 million to the Fund. In addition, three further investors (including the European Commission) have committed an incremental €110 million to the Fund, bringing current commitments to €710 million," it adds.

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