According to the Baltic Course, the Latvian government has set up a new body aimed at negotiating with Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera regarding the development of Lattelecom Group. The ‘task force’ will be headed by Latvia’s economy minister, Artis Kampars, and will also include Einars Repse and Kaspars Gerhards, minsters for finance and transport respectively. The body has been instructed to examine issues such as share management with TeliaSonera, as well as considering options to help offset losses resulting from universal service provision. It is also expected that the negotiations will include discussions related to Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), which is also jointly owned by both the Latvian state and TeliaSonera.
A similar endeavour was undertaken in 2005, following repeated bids from TeliaSonera for the government’s stake in both Lattelecom and LMT. No such stake sale is expected at this time, however, with the government declaring that privatisation of state-owned shares in both operators had been postponed as a result of the current global economic climate.