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Gazprom's stake in Latvian gas transmission, storage operator sold to undisclosed bidder

Gazprom's stake in Latvian gas transmission, storage operator sold to undisclosed bidder

Riga, December 31- Neftegaz.RU. Russian Gazprom sold its stake in Latvian gas transmission and storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid (Conexus) at an electronic auction on Dec. 30, Xinhua and Latvian media reported citing Gazprom representatives.

Two bidders joined the auction selling 34.0911 % of Conexus shares. The winning bidder was not immediately disclosed. The starting price of the Gazprom-held stake in the Latvian company had been set at 79 million EUR and the minimum price at 70 million EUR at the upward bidding auction.

Earlier, Latvian Economics Minister Ralfs Nemiro said that Gazprom had the right to sell its stake in Conexus to any investor and hinted that Latvia would not take part in the auction.

However, Latvia, being a third shareholder, has the preemptive rights to purchase Conexus shares, which means that all transactions in the company's shares have to be approved by the Latvian government. It's not clear yet when the government might decide on that matter.

Luxembourg-based Marguerite Fund, the other private Conexus shareholder, said earlier it would sell its stake in the Latvian gas transmission and storage operator to a fund controlled by a Japanese company.

Gazprom and Marguerite Fund have to be disassociated from Conexus because they are also shareholders of Latvian gas utility Latvijas Gaze, and under EU regulations, gas trade has to be separated from gas transmission and storage operations.

Jan. 1, 2020 is the deadline for Gazprom and Marguerite to dispose of their shares in Conexus.

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