Foreign road contractors bypass Latvia

  • 2007-11-28
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - Foreign companies are not showing sustainable interest in the road construction business in Latvia, an expert has said, throwing into doubt whether the state can boost competitiveness in the sector.
"There is no stable interest from foreign companies that might come here to work," Talis Straume, board chairman of the state-run road construction and maintenance company Latvijas Valsts Celi (Latvian State Roads), told the Baltic News Service.

"Those foreign companies that want to work here tend to acquire an operating Latvian company or try to set up partnership with local entrepreneurs," he said.
"Besides, the amount of projects we are offering at the moment can hardly be attractive to investors both in terms of their monetary value and physical volume."
Straume pointed out that Finland's Lemikainen, the region's best-known road construction company, is in Latvia, as are some German firms.

"How these things are arranged is a question of cooperation between business people. But foreign companies might start entering the market to participate in private-public partnership projects that draw huge capital investment," the expert said. Latvijas Valsts Celi was established in late 2004 as a state-owned company tasked with managing the network of state motor roads, administering funding to the road network and organizing public procurements.