RIGA - Five block deals on Dec. 23 with 11.5 percent of Latvia's natural gas monopoly, Latvijas Gaze, were made though it remained unclear who bought and sold the stocks.
The deals, totaling 25.3 million lats (37.7 million euros), were reportedly made outside the Riga Stock Exchange and put Latvijas Gaze in first place for the most traded Baltic List stock over the three-week holiday period.
According to reports, the most likely seller was Itera Latvija, whose CEO Juris Savickis said last year the company might sell a stake - approximately 9 percent - in Latvijas Gaze to Gazprom if the two sides could agree on a price.
In November Igor Makarov, the head of Itera Group, said that the sale of a 9 percent stake in Latvijas Gaze to the Russian gas monopoly should soon be completed, and in mid-December Savickis said the deal should most likely happen in the beginning of 2004.
A second possibility is that the deal could also be part of the E.ON Energie and Ruhrgas merger, with E.ON selling its Latvijas Gaze shares to Ruhrgas.
Itera Latvija owns 25 percent of Latvijas Gaze stock, Gazprom 25 percent, Germany's Ruhrgas 28.66 percent and E.ON Energie 18.06 percent.