Greece relaunches privatisation of biggest port

GMT 22:04 2015 Thursday ,14 May

Arab Today, arab today Greece relaunches privatisation of biggest port

Greece's largest port Piraeus
Athens - AFP

Greece's new left-wing government has relaunched the process of privatising the country's largest port but is offering a reduced stake to bidders, a source close to the deal said Thursday.

The previous conservative government had planned to sell a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus port but this has now been reduced to 51 percent, the source, who declined to be named, told AFP.

"We have informed the potential investors of the changes in terms of the bidding," the source added.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's government, in power for the last three months, had been largely opposed to the previous regime's plans to raise funds for the cash-strapped state through the sale of public assets, and had vowed to halt such privatisations.

But it has come under intense pressure from cash-strapped Greece's international creditors to move forward with such sales.

In late April, the government carried out its first privatisation since coming to power came with the selling of a 20-year horseracing gambling licence to a subsidiary of Czech-Greek company Opap for 40.5 million euros ($44 million).

Government spokesperson Gabriel Sakellaridis said Thursday that the question of privatisation was  part of the "package" of measures being discussed with the EU and the IMF to free a slice of loans worth 7.2 billion euros.

Sakellaridis said that on the subject of Piraeus, there had been a "concession" by the Greek government.

The unnamed source said three companies were interested in the port privatisation offer: the Chinese conglomerate COSCO, the Dutch company APM Terminals, and the Philippines' International Container Terminal Services.

The companies have until September to submit their offer, the source added.


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