RZD to pull out of ten­der?

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

Rus­sian Rail­ways( RZD) has pro­posed to its main share­holder, the Rus­sian state, that it drop out of the ten­der process for Greek rail­way com­pa­nies or­ga­nized by Greece’s state sell-off fund. A re­port by Rus­sian news agency RIA Novosti said that it is not yet known whether Moscow has ac­cepted the pro­posal.

If that is in­deed the case, there will be a ma­jor shift in the Greek pri­va­ti­za­tions pro­gram, es­pe­cially as far as Train­ose is con­cerned.

In co­op­er­a­tion with Greece’s GEK Terna con­glom­er­ate, RZD is sup­posed to be one of the two bid­ders in the ten­der for the 100 per­cent sale of the Greek rail­way ser­vice com­pany. The other suitor is Ro­ma­nia’s GFR in co­op­er­a­tion with US firm Watco.

The de­par­ture of the Rus­sians will also af­fect the pri­va­ti­za­tion ten­ders for rail car­riage com­pany Rosco and Thes­sa­loniki Port Au­thor­ity (OLTH). How­ever, both those ten­ders will have enough bid­ders to pro­ceed.

The gov­ern­ment and TAIPED ap­peared to be taken aback by the Rus­sian pro­posal for with­drawal, although the Greek side was never too op­ti­mistic about the in­ten­tions of the Rus­sian prospec­tive in­vestors. The ex­pe­ri­ence of Gazprom’s with­drawal from the pri­va­ti­za­tion process for the Public Gas Cor­po­ra­tion (DEPA) is still rel­a­tively fresh. The RZD de­ci­sion may well be due to the change in the com­pany’s man­age­ment with the de­par­ture of chair­man Vladimir Yakunin.

Mar­ket pro­fes­sion­als said yesterday it was hard to say whether the de­ci­sion was made on busi­ness or po­lit­i­cal grounds, although it is worth bear­ing in mind that Athens and TAIPED did not sat­isfy the wishes and re­quire­ments of RZD.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos told a US of­fi­cial in Athens that the coun­try’s cred­i­tors ‘ought to show some flex­i­bil­ity on out­stand­ing is­sues with a sig­nif­i­cant so­cial im­pact.’

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