RIGA - Three foreign finance companies have expressed an interest in buying the 36.62 percent state-owned stake in Ventpils Nafta, the oil transit concern, according to reports. An Economy Ministry spokeswoman told the Dienas Bizness daily that last year the ministry received letters from Fleming Family and Partners, a U.K. asset management company, VCP Capital Partners, an Austrian finance company, and the German division of CitiGroup, one of the world's largest financial houses, all expressing an interest in the sale of Ventspils Nafta.
In all likelihood the companies were acting on behalf of clients who wanted to remain anonymous.
The government at the end of June last year decided to sell the state-held shares in Ventspils Nafta. The ministers' decision was based on the failure to reach agreement with the company's largest shareholder Latvijas Naftas Tranzits about forming a joint portfolio, which would be easier to sell.
The state-held shares will be sold on the Riga Stock Exchange. The government expects to gain at least 70 million lats (99.6 million euros) from the deal.
Currently the Privatization Agency is holding talks with potential finance consultants for the transaction.
The largest shareholder in the company is Latvijas Naftas Tranzits, which owns a 49.3 percent.
Ventpils Nafta also holds a stake in Latvijas Naftas Terminals, the shipper Latvijas Kugnieciba, Lasco, the LatRosTrans pipeline operator, Preses nams, a publishing house, and other companies.