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Latvian government to consider finding investor for airBaltic

Alla Petrova, BC, Riga, 09.03.2011.Print version
The government will consider finding investors for the national airline airBaltic, as Transport Minister Uldis Augulis (Union of Greens and Farmers) told reporters on Tuesday.

The government analyzed Augulis' report for several hours in a closed meeting yesterday.


Augulis told reporters after the Cabinet meeting that the Transport Ministry had been given certain tasks, and it would have to present the government a report in two months regarding the financial situation at the airline and the preconditions for further development of airBaltic.


It is planned that a full audit will be carried out at airBaltic by an international audit company, informs LETA.


It is important to understand what is necessary for successful development of airBaltic in the future, so airBaltic would still be a success story and "Latvia's Nokia". Finding an investor for the airline will also be considered, said Augulis.


Augulis also stressed that the state would not be able to invest extra funds into the airline due to the complicated financial situation and ongoing budget consolidated measures.


Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) said after the government meeting that the Transport Ministry had been ordered to organize an audit at airBaltic, so the government would have full information about the company's financial situation, which is rather untransparent at the moment.


As for the airBaltic brands, the Transport Ministry takes the position that the state will not buy them back – this must be done by the airline itself.


No decisions regarding finding investors for airBaltic were taken at the government's meeting yesterday, stressed Dombrovskis.


As reported, airBaltic shareholder Baltijas aviacijas sistemas, a company that belongs to airBaltic President Bertolt Flick, previously offered the state to buy airBaltic brands back, as the "" portal reported.


In December 2009, airBaltic sold six airBaltic brands (airBaltic, "", "airBaltic", "airBalticHotels", "BalticMiles" un "Baltic Taxi") to Baltijas aviacijas sistemas, and the deal was approved by then airBaltic council.


Baltijas aviacijas sistemas and the airBaltic brands in its possession were used last December as a security against an LVL 31 million loan from the banks Latvijas Krajbanka and Snoras, which belong to Russia's billionaire Vladimir Antonov.

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