Three potential airBaltic investors being evaluated, minister says

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Three potential investors for the sale of Latvia's flag-carrier airline airBaltic are being evaluated at the moment, Transport Minister Uldis Augulis said appearing on Latvian Television November 1. 

"Three offers are being evaluated at the moment, with the goal that the state can choose the most appropriate one," said Augulis.

According to Augulis, the government's main criteria for picking an investor is that they will continue to develop the airline, maintain the Riga International Airport as its main base, as well as keep improving its fleet and network of destinations.

It is expected Latvia's government will choose an investor by year-end. 

According to Augulis, the offers, which are "good and interesting", will benefit the national economy.

He stopped short of revealing from which countries the potential investors are from, but claimed that they are from ''all over the world''.

The transport minister said out that there is no rush to sell off the airline, if the government does not find the potential investors appropriate, it may simply wait. 

As reported, the Transport Ministry is currently analyzing concrete proposals made by potential investors of Latvia’s national carrier airBaltic and is not ruling out making the airline fully private.

As reported, Horizon 2021, the business plan of Latvian national carrier airBaltic, provides for attraction of additional capital worth EUR 50 million, but the airline will not request further investments from the state.

The Latvian government has resolved to find a strategic investor by the end of 2017. International financial consultancy Lazard Freres has been hired to look for the investor.

In May last year, airBaltic share capital was increased to EUR 256.473 million. According to an agreement signed by the Latvian government and German investor Ralf Montag Girmes, the investor made an investment worth EUR 52 million in airBaltic, while the state invested EUR 80 million, capitalizing the loan from the Treasury. As a result, the Latvian state held 80 percent shares in airBaltic and Montag Girmes had 20 percent through company Aircraft Leasing 1.

In April this year, Danish businessman Lars Thuesen became the sole owner of Aircraft Leasing 1, thus becoming an indirect holder of a 20 percent stake in airBaltic.

airBaltic posted EUR 1.2 million in profit last year and achieved EUR 286 million in turnover.

airBaltic serves around 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia.

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