RIGA, April 7 Latvia's government is considering
buying E.ON's 47.2 percent stake in gas utility
Latvijas Gaze, local television reported late on
Sunday, citing the country's economy minister.
Russia's Gazprom owns 34 percent, and gas trader
Itera Latvija has a 16 percent stake in the utility, which
imports, transports and sells gas in the Baltic state. Russia is
the sole gas supplier.
Existing shareholders have the right of first refusal to buy
the shares from Germany's biggest utility which plans to exit
the Baltic markets.
"We are considering all options, including the option for
the state to buy E.ON shares... We would not want to see the
shares to fall into Gazprom or some other, not so well known,
buyer's hands," Economy Minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis told TV3
Dombrovskis said the government could make a decision on the
matter in early May.
Riga-listed Latvijas Gaze has a market capitalisation of
more than 370 million euros.
The utility also operates one of the largest underground gas
storage businesses in Europe, Incukalns, which is capable of
storing 2.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas.
Latvia's neighbor Lithuania has also said it is considering
buying E.ON's 38.9 percent stake in national gas transportation
company Amber Grid.
German company also holds 33.66 percent of Estonia's gas
utility Eesti Gaas.
(Reporting by Aija Krutaine; Editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and