Pri­va­ti­za­tion plan fi­nally passed

Cabi­net ap­proves sell-off agenda, which starts with sale of stakes in OTE tele­com, TT and ports

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

Greece ap­proved yes­ter­day the first wave of pri­va­ti­za­tions aimed at help­ing mak­ing its debt sus­tain­able by de­cid­ing to “im­me­di­ately pro­ceed” with the sale of stakes in sev­eral state-con­trolled com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing OTE tele­com and Hel­lenic Post­bank (TT).

A state­ment is­sued by the Fi­nance Min­istry said the Cabi­net agreed on the plan which aims to raise 50 bil­lion eu­ros by 2015 by also re­duc­ing hold­ings in Pi­raeus and Thes­sa­loniki ports as well as the Thes­sa­loniki wa­ter com­pany (EYATH) “in or­der to front-load its am­bi­tious pro­gram.”

“To ac­cel­er­ate this process, the cre­ation of a sov­er­eign wealth fund com­posed of pri­va­ti­za­tion and real es­tate as­sets was also de­cided upon,” the min­istry added.

Greece plans to sell a 10 per­cent stake in OTE to Deutsche Telekom and will con­sider sell­ing an ad­di­tional 6 per­cent of the phone com­pany. A 17 per­cent stake in power com­pany PPC will also go un­der the ham­mer ei­ther through the stock mar­ket or by spin­ning off PPC as­sets to a strate­gic in­vestor. Ad­di­tion­ally, a 34 per­cent stake in TT will be put up for sale with an ad­di­tional 10 per­cent in the lender pos­si­bly be­ing listed on the Athens bourse or go­ing to a strate­gic in­vestor.

Greece has been un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure from fi­nan­cial mar­kets and its cred­i­tors, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, to pick up the pace of the sell­off pro­gram as a con­di­tion to re­ceiv­ing the fifth tranche of EU-IMF aid worth 12 bil­lion eu­ros.

Af­ter last week’s Eurogroup meet­ing in Brus­sels, sev­eral EU lead­ers made it clear that any pos­si­bil­ity of Greece be­ing pro­vided with ad­di­tional aid to the 110-bil­lion-euro agree­ment signed last year will re­quire faster ex­e­cu­tion of the sell­off pro­gram.

Mean­while, data from the Fi­nance Min­istry re­leased yes­ter­day showed that the gen­eral gov­ern­ment deficit in the first four months of the year was slightly larger than ex­pected as rev­enues dipped un­der the weight of the re­ces­sion.

The gen­eral gov­ern­ment deficit, which does not in­clude bud­get data from lo­cal coun­cils and state en­ter­prises, reached 7.2 bil­lion eu­ros, ver­sus an ex­pected 6.9 bil­lion eu­ros.

Rev­enues in the Jan­uary-April pe­riod dipped 9.1 per­cent year-on-year to 14.4 bil­lion eu­ros, some 1.2 bil­lion short of the tar­get, due to a deep­erthan-ex­pected re­ces­sion in the last quar­ter of 2010 and last year’s one­off rev­enue boost to road tax which was not re­peated.

For the pe­riod, or­di­nary bud­get ex­pen­di­tures were up 3.6 per­cent at 21.02 bil­lion eu­ros, com­pared with a four-month tar­get of 20.84 bil­lion.

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