RIGA - Next week the government might discuss a possible listing of state-owned enterprises, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said following the weekly coalition meeting on Monday.
The prime minister noted though that there is no unanimity in the government coalition on the matter, but voiced hope that common ground will be reached in constructive discussions.
According to Karins, this would not be a privatization process like the one Latvia saw in the 1990s but a listing of some government-held shares on the stock exchange like it is already the case in Latvia's neighbor countries. Large state-controlled enterprises in Lithuania and Estonia are listed on the stock market, whereas in Latvia the operations of state-owned enterprises are excessively affected by political influences, which impedes their growth.
The government has yet to decide which enterprises should go public, but it is necessary to go into that direction, Karins said.
Economics Minister Ilze Indriksone (National Alliance) indicated that the development of the capital market is a national priority but also a major challenge. The minister said that the matter was debated already during the government formation process, with coalition partners agreeing on the necessity to assess all benefits and risks of such a step.
Indriksone said that there are state-owned and municipal companies in Latvia that could be listed on the stock exchange and whose management could be improved but that strategic resources like Latvijas Valsts Mezi (Latvian State Forests) or Latvenergo energy group would not be the first to go public.