PM: Suitable buyer found for gas utility share

The Latvian government no longer needs to consider acquiring the 47% share of gas supply utility Latvijas gaze from German firm E.ON Ruhrgas, thanks to the emergence of a suitable potential buyer, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity) told the LNT independent commercial television channel morning news program Wednesday.

However she did not reveal the name of the potential buyer, as "private business secrets cannot be disclosed".

Weekly magazine Ir had previously reported that an investors’ fund, one of whose members is the European Investment Bank, is interested in buying the 47% stake in Latvijas Gaze from E.ON Ruhrgas. Unofficial information points to the prospective buyer being the fund Marguerite (full name The 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure), established by several European banks.

Representing the fund's interests is Luxembourg-based Marguerite Adviser S.A. Its representatives visited Latvijas Gaze on February 3-4 to get fully acquainted with the company's financial reports and the overall situation, as well as to visit the Inčukalns underground gas storage facility, which experts consider one of the keys to the Baltic States' energy independence.

The fund's representative Olivia Barbier told Ir that Marguerite does not comment on its deals. E.ON Ruhrgas also declined to comment.

The largest shareholders in Latvijas gaze are E.ON Ruhrgas, Russia’s Gazprom (34%), and Itera Latvija (16%).

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