Shipping companies close to be sold

  • 2000-10-19
VILNIUS (BNS) - While the privatization of the Lithuanian Shipping Company is being scrutinized by the country's president, the Latvian Privatization Agency hopes to sell the country's shipping company by the end of the year.

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus asked the state security agency and state controllers Oct. 12. to provide information about the sale of the Lithuanian Shipping Company and the carrying out of liabilities of the buyer. The government claimed this step is directly related to "lobbying interests" and said the state interests were not exposed to any danger.

"It is suspected that the aim of some political forces to stop the privatization of the (shipping company) at any price is directly related to lobbying interests. Moreover, it is possible that after such attempts to prevent investments from flowing into our country, Lithuania might become a country absolutely unattractive to investors," the PM's spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the appeal of the president's office to the country's law-enforcement bodies and controllers expressed common ungrounded doubts about the privatization of the Lithuanian Shipping Company, which was approved by the government last week.

Violeta Gaizauskaite, spokeswoman for the president, said that the president wanted to get all necessary information so that he could evaluate such privatization when the assets of the company were distributed through the offshore zones in return for loans.

Gaizauskaite emphasized that the president would be able to evaluate this only after receiving the information from corresponding institutions.

"Any desire of officials to limit the right of the president to receive the necessary information is unacceptable. It is strange when we hear politicians saying that in seeking transparency of privatization, the country might become unattractive to investors," Gaizauskaite said.

During the Oct. 13 news conference head of the Lithuanian State Property Fund Stasys Vaitkevicius did not rule out the possibility that the potential buyer of the Lithuanian Shipping Company might decide against signing a sale agreement. He said he could see a disappointment of investors in the situation and the investment climate.

The government has already endorsed the draft agreement to sell 75 percent of shares in Lithuanian Shipping Company to B.B. Bredo B.V., a consortium registered in the Netherlands, and therefore the signing of the deal now depends on investors' choice.

Dutch, Danish and Israeli investors, members of the B.B. Bredo B.V. consortium, have offered approximately 500 million litas ($125 million) for the stake, including planned investment, Vaitkevicius said.