Greece unblocks Piraeus port privatisation deal

Greece reportedly invites three firms to bid for stake in national port

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Greek government has invited three firms to place bids for its Piraeus port, indicating the coalition led by the left-wing SYRIZA party may be backtracking on its stance against the privatisation of state assets.

Speaking to Reuters on Tuesday, a senior privatisation official said the Greek government is hoping to receive bids for 51 percent of the port by September.

"It will be for 51 percent with an option to reach 67 percent in five years if they invest 300 million euros," said the official.

Greek Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Drakasakis confirmed the government will proceed with the deal with China’s shipping group Cosco in April.

Cosco was originally intending to buy a 67 percent stake in the port before the SYRIZA government revised the figure.

Dutch container terminal operator APM Terminals and the Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services are also interested in placing bids, the official said.

The SYRIZA government has been softening its stance on privatisations as of late as it continues to offer concessions in a bid to renegotiate the terms of a €240 billion bailout.

Greece also previously announced it will go ahead with the privatisation of the Skouries gold mine in the northern Greek city of Halkidiki undertaken by Canadian firm Eldorado Gold Corp.

Azerbaijan’s state-owned energy firm SOCAR is also on the verge of purchasing a 66 percent stake in Greece’s state-owned energy distribution company DESFA, a subsidiary of Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA).

SOCAR won a tender worth $452 million for a stake in the company in December 2013, but the deal was suspended in November 2014 after the European Commission decided to investigate whether the deal violates EU competition rules stated in Merger Regulation laws.

A decision is due to be made later this year.

TRTWorld and agencies