Lasco gets flotation away at last
The Latvian Shipping Company (Lasco), has finally fulfilled its long-held desire to privatize. After five years and four attempts at privatization, the government has sold 51% of its shares for Lats35.7 million ($59.3 million), putting the share price at Lats0.35. Lasco listed on the Riga stock exchange on July 1 and started trading at Lats0.30.
Lasco's initial attempt to sell foundered as it looked for strategic investors that would provide new management, marketing skills and additional investment. Lauri Lind, head of equity trading at Hansabank in Estonia, says: "They came to the conclusion that there were no strategic investors willing to pay the price they wanted so they decided to do an IPO instead." Lasco declined to comment but Talis Linkaits, head of administration at the Latvian Privatization Company, says: "Unfortunately, the sales price set by the government was higher than investors were willing to pay." Before the sale of 51% of its shares the company sold 32% of the company through privatization vouchers.