The Latvian privatization agency cleared Latvian Shipping
to sell part of its loss-making refrigerator fleet to concentrate on its core tanker business, Reuters reported
. The agency gave the go ahead to sell seven Kursk-type refrigerator vessels that are unable to handle containers and had said that the funds raised must be reinvested. Shipping, currently in the final stages of privatization, has said the total balance sheet value of the ships is $40 million. Shipping's strategy -- if and when an investor arrives -- is to strip all non-core business away by selling most of the refrigerators, as well as dry-cargo and gas vessels. The firm operates a fleet of 49 ships -- 34 tankers, 12 reefers, two gas vessels and one dry-cargo vessel -- and has been on Latvia's privatization list since 1995 but several tenders have failed. Latvia's cabinet is expected to approve guidelines for a fourth Shipping sale on December 12. It is expected to be the first to offer a majority stake to a strategic investor.