Telia has hit out at the Latvian government’s rejection of its proposal to combine local mobile operator LMT with fixed provider Lattelecom.
The Nordic group issued a caustic statement noting that it been in negotiations with Latvian authorities over the merger for the past ten years, and slammed the rejection as “detrimental” to the country.
“Over the past decade, Telia Company has put forward every single option to the government – to buy, to sell, to merge and different ownership structures, which have now all been rejected,” read the statement.
“It is disappointing that the government has not only rejected the solutions recommended by the independent consultants and its own inter-ministerial working group, but has also failed to provide an alternative strategy regarding the development of the two companies and the country’s digital sector. The negative decision is detrimental for both LMT and Lattelecom and ultimately to Latvian society and the wider economy.”
Telia holds a 60% stake in LMT and a 49% stake in Lattelecom, and has repeatedly stated that it believes a merger between the companies is the “only solution to ensure their sustainable future”. The Latvian government holds the majority stake in Lattelecom, as well as a small holding in LMT. Lattelecom itself in fact also holds a 23% stake in LMT.
LMT leads the market in Latvia with 1.24 million connections. Telia had been hoping to run the operator as a converged fixed line and mobile provider, but since this has been rejected the operator is reviewing its position in the market.