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Latvia - below the radar screen

Riga: Swedish culture, a Russian past, and a European future?

Latvia is small. Latvia is very small. Latvia is so tiny, in fact, that you may have trouble getting a price for the Latvian Eurobond or Hansabank, the largest bank in the Baltics and number one equity issue on the Riga stock exchange. If you ring up the London switchboard of any mega-global-super bank claiming to make a market in everything from options on timber futures to weather derivatives for Lesotho, and then ask for the Latvian desk, after a few minutes on hold you'll wind up speaking to PR. And then explaining where Latvia is located.

The size issue has pushed Latvia well below the radar screens of most major foreign direct investors, other than for names like the ubiquitous McDonald's and Coca-Cola. The country has also failed to attract the attention of fund managers and, the occasional debt issue or GDR aside, is only of exceedingly thin interest to the dealmakers of the investment-banking world.

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