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Greece sets hopes on 3 billion euro from privatisation

08 December 2015 / 20:12:44  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The Greek government anticipates 3 billion euro in revenue from the application of the direct programme of the Privatisation Fund. The first flow of funds will come before the end of this year, from the sale of 14 regional airports to the German company Fraport. According to Fund director Stergios Pitsiorlas, the contract will be signed within 10 days and the amount of 1.23 billion euro will be immediately obtained.

During a press conference organized by the Association of Foreign Correspondents in Athens, he said that the remaining key privatisations included the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, the state natural gas company DESFA, the former Athens airport in Elliniko, Asteras hotel in Vouliagmeni near Athens and the tourist areas Afandou on Rhodes and Kassiopi on Corfu.

Pitsiorlas stressed that the privatisation was a priority for the Greek government and for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in person, however not denying the existence of disagreements with the sale of state property on the part of some ministers. Meanwhile, investor interest has grown over the past few months and, according to him, this is indicative of the feeling that Greece has already returned to a period of stability.

The Privatisation Fund director announced that Chinese state-owned COSCO, Danish Maersk and Filipino ISTI would present on 21 December their binding bids for Piraeus port. Examining the bids for the state-owned natural gas company DESFA would begin in the coming days. The state oil company of Azerbaijan SOCAR, the Italian Snam and the consortium Fluxys-Enagas expressed interest in it and the Fund aimed at concluding the specific deal in the first quarter of 2016.

Privatisation Fund director Stergios Pitsiorlas, photo: the author

Eight companies from around the world expressed interest in the port of Thessaloniki and under the programme of the Privatisation Fund, the submission of biding bids has been postponed to early April next year.

The privatisation terms of the former Athens airport in the seaside suburb of Elliniko would be reviewed and improved during the same period in order to initiate the procedure of granting permits for various activities.

As for the privatisation of the hotel complex Asteras, the Privatisation Fund director said that a new development plan would be submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court in the coming days. The magistrates had rejected the previous one, arguing that it would disrupt the ecological balance due to excessive construction. According to Pitsiorlas, the deal could be concluded in the first quarter of next year.

It is expected that the presentation of new environmental studies before the Supreme Administrative Court Privatization would trigger the privatisation of tourist areas on the islands of Rhodes and Crete.

Meanwhile, the Privatisation Fund would enter into negotiations to extend for another 20 years the concession contract for Athens airport "Eleftherios Venizelos".

The ambitious programme of the Greek government may not proceed so smoothly in the case of the privatisation of the Greek railways TRAINOSE since one of the candidates, namely the Russian Railways, which is involved in the auction together with the Greek company TERNA, has not yet clarified its position. "Even if the tender is unsuccessful, it will have to be repeated in a very short time," said Pitsiorlas.

He added that the licensing procedure for the operation of 52 airports for seaplanes on the Greek islands was in progress, specifying that for 10-12 of them it should be completed by the end of February 2016.

In connection with the establishment of a single privatisation fund that will accumulate state assets amounting to 50 billion euro, the director of the current Privatisation Fund said that it should include all state property managing agencies, because this would contribute to its more effective operation. The new fund would be set up early next year. Pitsiorlas did not fail to note that while the total revenues of the Fund managed by him were used to repay the Greek government debt, those of the new fund would be equally distributed, 50% would go for the debt and 50% for investment in the Greek economy.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesEconomy CompaniesGreek Privatisation FundRegional airportsFormer airport in ElinikoState property
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