No PPC shares on the cheap, says PM

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou warned in­vestors that they should not ex­pect to buy shares in Pub­lic Power Cor­po­ra­tion, to be sold as part of the gov­ern­ment’s 50-bil­lion-euro pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram, at “bar­gain prices.”

Speak­ing in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day, Pa­pan­dreou also said that the gov­ern­ment would not give up con­trol of the power util­ity ei­ther.

The gov­ern­ment is to sub­mit leg­is­la­tion in Par­lia­ment on May 15 paving the way for the state to re­duce its hold­ings in PPC from 51 per­cent to 34 per­cent as part of the pri­va­ti­za­tion scheme it has agreed with the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

How­ever, the sell-off has prompted the re­ac­tion of PPC’s pow­er­ful GENOP work­ers’ union, which has be­gun a se­ries of rolling strikes, and concern from some op­po­si­tion politi­cians that be­cause Greece is sell­ing un­der pres­sure, it will not re­ceive a good price for the 17 per­cent stake.

“We are not in a rush, we will not go into this willy-nilly,” he told MPs, even though his gov­ern­ment has pledge to raise 50 bil­lion eu­ros from pri­va­ti­za­tions by 2015. Pa­pan­dreou promised that the sale of the PPC shares would be “trans­par­ent” as well as at a good price. “There should not be and there will not be a bar­gain price,” he said.

Pa­pan­dreou also tried to end the con­tro­versy over com­ments by In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Do­minique Strauss-Kahn about talks be­tween him and the Greek premier in Novem­ber 2009, months be­fore Athens made an of­fi­cial re­quest for emer­gency loans.

Re­spond­ing to an ac­cu­sa­tion from Coali­tion of the Rad­i­cal Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras that he had “fooled” the Greek peo­ple, Pa­pan­dreou said he “spoke with ev­ery­one to find the best so­lu­tion so the coun­try would not go bank­rupt.”

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