Saeima okays state purchase of airBaltic bonds

On May 2, the Saeima passed the law allowing the state to purchase up to EUR 136 million worth of bonds of Air Baltic Corporation ("airBaltic").

57 MPs voted in favor, 17 against and 13 abstained.

It is envisaged that the State shall participate in the implementation of the investments set out in this decision on the same terms and to the same extent as private investors.

The amount of the State's investment in airBaltic will not exceed EUR 136 million.

Before the vote, opposition MP Andris Kulbergs (United List) claimed that not all MPs had been informed about the investment plan in time. "We are the holders of public money at this point and we are going to vote without information," Kulbergs said, adding that he did not want to be used as a "voting machine".

Meanwhile, Artūrs Butāns (National Alliance) recalled what the minister responsible, Kaspars Briškens (Progressives), had said a few months ago that "there are no options where state support is given, because there is a whole range of options to refinance these securities on the market". 

For his part, MP Ainārs Šlesers (Latvia First) called on the State Audit Office to start monitoring airBaltic.

airBaltic's audited turnover last year amounted to 664.289 million euros, which is 33.2% more than in 2022, and the company also made a profit of 33.852 million euros, as opposed to losses the year before. For many years already it has been suggested the company is been close to listing its shares on the stock markets, and such speculation continues. However, first the Covid crisis and then Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine may have made investors in the aviation sector in eastern Europe jittery and airBaltic has no immediate plans to open an IPO. 

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