RIGA - Poland's PKN Orlen, the East European retailer that recently agreed to buy some 85 percent of Lithuania's Mazeikiu Nafta, is considering purchasing the Latvian state's minority stake in Ventspils Nafta, Economy Minister Aigars Stokenbergs said this week.
After meeting with PKN Orlen officials, the minister said that the company had expressed interest in Ventspils Nafta, the floundering oil terminal on the Baltic Sea, and was considering participation in the planned auction for the state's 38.6 percent stake.
As Stokenbergs explained, the Polish company wants to purchase Ventspils Nafta in order to acquire another export channel for Mazeikiu Nafta's oil products.
PKN Orlen representatives are planning to meet with Latvia's Privatization Agency and a consortium set up by Parex Bank, IBS Suprema and Suprema Securities, local investment firms acting as consultants in the high-profile sell-off.
The economy minister could not say for the time being whether there were any other official bidders for the auction, but he hinted that this would become clear later this week after meeting with consultants.
The state plans to sell its 38.6 percent stake on the Riga Stock Exchange. The government, which had been hoping to sell the stake along with a controlling stake belonging to Latvijas Naftas Tranzits, the private firm that control Ventspils Nafta (it owns a 49 percent stake), but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement.
The government hopes to receive at least 70 million lats (99.6 million euros) from selling the asset.
In the meantime, the government of Kazakhstan is also seen as another potential bidder in the auction. "We want to enter the European market through Latvia," Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told the press during his visit to Latvia in July.
Stokenbergs previously said that Russia's Rosneft has also shown interest in bidding for Ventspils Nafta.