Price of Citadele sale revealed

Take note – story published 9 years and 7 months ago

The important detail everyone wanted to know concerning the imminent sale of Citadele bank to a group of overseas investors was revealed by Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma Tuesday - the price.

Speaking on LTV's morning news show Rita Panorama, Straujuma said the total value of the bank was €98.67.

"I will say today very precisely what the sale price is - ninety-eight million, sixty-seven thousand euros," Straujuma said.

However that sum was the value of the whole bank, she clarified.

With the government offloading its 75% stake in Citadele, that would mean it would actually realise €74m from the sale to a group of investors headed by Tim Collins of US private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings.

The remaining 25% of the bank, worth €26m, will continue to be owned by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Straujuma has come under increasing pressure during the current election campaign to say how much Citadele was being sold for, despite her repeated assertions that full details of the deal would be revealed only after the sale has been signed.

She had also said in earlier interviews that the deal would be concluded by the end of September to comply with European Commission demands for the state to offload its interest in Citadele, but on Tuesday she admitted that timeframe had slipped and the deal would now likely be signed in the next couple of weeks.

However, the delay would not cause problems between Latvia and the European Commission, Straujuma said, explaining that the Commission had judged the sale to be "correct" and the buyers were known as "first class participants in the financial markets".

Though positive about the likelihood of concluding the deal, Straujuma admitted several issues still needed to be resolved, though she claimed a confidentiality agreement she had signed prevented her giving full details.

"We can sign soon," she said, with the whole sale process likely to be completed "by the end of March."

The opposition Harmony party last week tried to halt the sale of Citadele via a parliamentary vote which it lost.

Citadele was formed from part of the notorious Parex bank which collapsed in 2008 and required a massive state bailout.

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