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airBaltic CEO does not consider lost investors a failure

Martin Gauss/logistic-global.com.
Although no investor was found for Latvian national airBaltic airline in the past two years, it should not be considered a failure, said airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme of LTV.


He notes that the state had previously established a two-year term for the sale of airBaltic. Those two years were spent searching for an investor. According to Gauss, this should not be considered a failure.
 

He explains that two years ago airBaltic’s financial indexes differed from its current ones. «We have become much more successful – our financial indexes have reached their historic peaks,» said Gauss, adding that this is the reason why the state is not in a hurry to sell the company.
 

He says that Lazard Freres continues holding talks with potential investors, but there is no rush. Several potential, including well-known companies, have expressed an interest in acquiring airBaltic.
 

He also emphasizes that in spite of a lack of investors, airBaltic will continue developing in accordance with Horizon 2021 business plan.
 

Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis had previously mentioned that two more investors have taken an interest in airBaltic. He mentioned, however, that there is no need to rush the decision regarding the sale of shares owned by the state. Augulis did not mention any specific names, however.
 

The minister did, however, mention that the reason why the state is not in a hurry to sell the airline is because the company is no longer in as bad a state as it was in 2015, when attraction of an investor was needed to prevent airBaltic from going bankrupt. Now, on the other hand, the airline has stabilized and its financial state is far better than it was a couple of years ago.
 

«We don’t have to give it away for pocket change,» said Augulis, adding that as much time as necessary will be provided for evaluation and decision-making. He also mentioned that airBaltic can successful work this year and the next without attracting a new investor.
 

Lazard Freres has time until the end of January to prepare their report on the investor-attraction process.
 

Latvian state owns 80% of airBaltic shares. Aircraft Leasing 1, which was taken over by Danish businessman Lars Thuesen, owns 20%.

BNN/LETA

24-01-2018
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