RIGA, Sept 4 Latvia's government will submit a
non-binding offer to buy a 47.2 percent stake in gas utility
Latvijas Gaze from Germany's E.ON, a
spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Latvijas Gaze imports gas from Russia and operates one of
the biggest gas storages in Europe, Incukalns. Russia's Gazprom
owns 34 percent of Latvijas Gaze and gas trader Itera
Latvija has another 16 percent.
"The government will submit a non-binding offer (to E.ON),"
said Dzeina Tamulevica, a spokeswoman for Latvian Prime Minister
Laimdota Straujuma, declining to elaborate.
Straujuma told Reuters in June that E.ON asked for a price
of 220 million euros ($287 million), but that was too high and
the government was in no rush to buy.
E.ON's stake in Latvijas Gaze is worth around 176 million
euros at the current market price, according to Reuters
Germany's top utility has already sold its assets in the gas
utilities of neighbouring Lithuania and Estonia, and is
negotiating a sale of its stake in Finnish utility
E.ON's exit from the Baltic states has been triggered by
EU-driven gas market reforms aimed at separating gas supply and
Latvia plans to keep Latvijas Gaze intact until April 2017,
when an agreement with the current owners to operate Incukalns
(1 US dollar = 0.7617 euro)
(Reporting by Aija Braslina; Editing by Mark Potter)