Latvia won't merge LMT and Lattelecom

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The Latvian government on November 7 decided not to support the proposed merger of Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) and Lattelecom telecommunications companies.

As reported, the Economics Ministry had submitted to the government a report on further actions regarding the state-owned holdings in Lattelecom and LMT.

Already after the coalition cooperation council’s meeting on November 6 it was admitted that the government might not support the telecommunications operators’ merger. The National Alliance, which discussed the issue at its board meeting, decided to reject the merger plan. Roberts Zile, a board member of the National Alliance, told LETA after the party’s meeting that he had not heard any sound argument to support the merger.

Augusts Brigmanis, head of the Greens/Farmers' Saeima group, said after the coalition's meeting on Monday that it would be logical not to merge the two companies as there were too many unanswered questions about the deal, and the coalition was not unanimous.

Scandinavia’s Telia Company has warned the Latvian government that it could sell its shares in Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) and Lattelecom if the two companies are not merged, according to Telia Senior Vice President Robert Andersson's letter to the government.

Telia Group companies Sonera Holding and Telia Company own 49% of LMT shares altogether, while Latvian Radio and Television Center and Latvian Privatization Agency - 28%. Lattelecom, which belongs to Telia and the state of Latvia, owns 23% of LMT shares.

Telia Group company Tilts Communications owns 51 percent of Lattelecom shares, and Latvian Privatization Agency the other 49%. 

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