Port chair­man op­poses pri­va­ti­za­tion agenda

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

The chair­man of the main Greek port of Pi­raeus yes­ter­day pub­licly op­posed the gov­ern­ment’s plans to pri­va­tize the har­bor as part of a broader as­set sale to re­duce the coun­try’s crush­ing debt. Gior­gos Anomeri­tis, a for­mer mer­chant marine min­is­ter, told the port au­thor­ity’s gen­eral assem­bly that the “Thatcherite” model of full pri­va­ti­za­tion is ob­so­lete and most of Europe’s wa­ter­ways are state-con­trolled. Thou­sands of Greeks have been protest­ing over the past week against the sale of choice state as­sets, in­clud­ing the near-mo­nop­oly tele­com and elec­tric­ity op­er­a­tors and the ports of Pi­raeus and Thes­sa­loniki. The gov­ern­ment has an­nounced plans to sell up to its en­tire 75 per­cent stake in the Pi­raeus Port Au­thor­ity (OLP) by the end of the year. “The Thatcherite model of full port pri­va­ti­za­tion has been aban­doned even by its staunch­est pro­po­nents,” Anomeri­tis said. “Ninety-six per­cent of ports in united Europe be­long to the state and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” he said, ar­gu­ing that 51 per­cent of the port, one of the busiest in the Mediter­ranean, should re­main un­der pub­lic con­trol. OLP cur­rently has a con­ces­sion agree­ment with Chinese global ship­ping gi­ant Cosco, which is run­ning two of the port’s con­tainer ter­mi­nals. Greece is un­der pres­sure to raise as much money as it can from its as­sets to se­cure con­tin­ued sup­port for its trou­bled econ­omy from the Euro­pean Union, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund and the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank. The three or­ga­ni­za­tions last year helped res­cue Greece from bank­ruptcy with a 110-bil­lioneuro ($161 bil­lion) loan, but Athens is likely to need ad­di­tional funds to main­tain re­pay­ments on a debt that has ex­ploded to 350 bil­lion eu­ros. (AFP) ros ($7.9 bil­lion) of Tier 1 cap­i­tal, Lon­don­based an­a­lysts Si­mon Adam­son, John Ray­mond and Puja Poo­jara wrote in a re­port yes­ter­day. Erik Burns, a spokesman for the lender, said he had no im­me­di­ate com­ment. Credit Agri­cole SA has 21.7 bil­lion eu­ros – 37 per­cent of Tier 1 cap­i­tal – at risk through its Em­po­riki Bank SA unit, mak­ing it the non-Greek lender with the largest ab­so­lute amount out­stand­ing, ac­cord­ing to Cred­itSights. So­ci­ete Gen­erale SA, which owns Athens-based Geniki Bank, has ex­po­sure of 5.9 bil­lion eu­ros, amount­ing to 17 per­cent of Tier 1 cap­i­tal. Brus­sels-based Dexia SA has 5.4 bil­lion eu­ros out­stand­ing in Greece, equiv­a­lent to 29 per­cent of its cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to Cred­itSights. Com­merzbank AG, Ger­many’s sec­ond-largest lender, has 2.9 bil­lion eu­ros at risk in Greece, or 9 per­cent of its Tier 1 cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to the an­a­lysts. (Bloomberg) over their high hold­ings of gov­ern­ment bonds and spec­u­la­tion the coun­try may have to re­struc­ture its debt, the high­est in the euro’s his­tory. Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou agreed to 78 bil­lion eu­ros in ad­di­tional aus­ter­ity mea­sures and as­set sales through 2015 to se­cure a 12-mil­lioneuro in­stall­ment of a bailout agreed last year and meet con­di­tions for an ad­di­tional res­cue pack­age. In May last year, Greece agreed to the mea­sures in ex­change for a 110-bil­lion-euro Euro­pean Union-led bailout. The gov­ern­ment and cen­tral bank will ex­tend 30 bil­lion eu­ros in ad­di­tional state guar­an­tees, con­tin­gent on banks de­tail­ing how they will wean them­selves off ECB money. ECB fund­ing to Greek banks is down 10.9 bil­lion eu­ros since De­cem­ber.


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