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Group: vouchers best for land

  • 2003-04-24
RIGA

State-owned shares in large companies should be sold for cash, while privatization securities, or vouchers, could still be valid for privatization of land and real estate, a government working group agreed.

The Economy Ministry's IT and PR department head Kaspars Paupe said the working group, set up by the prime minister to work out a strategy for wrapping up the sale of state and municipal property, suggested to retain vouchers as valid means of payment for privatization of land and real estate but set a deadline for submission of bids for these objects, which in most cases could be Dec. 31, 2005.

Paupe said the working group agreed not to offer large companies for vouchers based on the estimation that the value of non-privatized land and real estate exceeds the value of vouchers still held by the people by more than 1.5 times.

The only exception could be Lattelekom, whose shares could be offered against vouchers to present and former employees.

The working group's proposals will soon be handed to government for consideration.

So far 90.1 percent of a total of 111 million privatization vouchers have been redeemed as a result of the privatization of state and municipal property. Face value of one voucher is 28 lats (44 euros) while the going price on the secondary market fluctuates above 5 lats a piece.

The expiration date for vouchers has been extended on several occasions, with the effective deadline now set at the end of this year.

The fate of the vouchers will still have to be decided upon by Parliament. Of the large companies, the Latvian state still owns stakes only in Latvijas Krajbanka, Ventspils Nafta and Lattelekom.