OLP bids in De­cem­ber, with OLTH in March, TAIPED chief says

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY VAN­GE­LIS MANDRAVELIS

Bind­ing bids for the pri­va­ti­za­tion of Pi­raeus Port Author­ity (OLP) are ex­pected by early De­cem­ber and the progress of pri­va­ti­za­tions will be­come more ap­par­ent in the months to come, the chair­man of the Hel­lenic Re­pub­lic As­set De­vel­op­ment Fund (TAIPED), Stergios Pit­sior­las, said.

In an in­ter­view with Kathimerini Pit­sior­las, one of the found­ing mem­bers of gov­ern­ing SYRIZA, said that the gov­ern­ment’s sell-off pro­gram is the first de­ci­sive step in re­turn­ing the econ­omy to growth and ad­dress­ing many of the coun­try’s fis­cal chal­lenges, pledg­ing more clar­ity and less tur­bu­lence in the time to come.

The TAIPED chief said the bind­ing of­fers for OLP will be sub­mit­ted by Novem­ber 30 or by early De­cem­ber at the lat­est, adding that there are three par­ties in­ter­ested in the con­trol­ling stake. On the Thes­sa­loniki Port Author­ity (OLTH), Pit­sior­las said that sub­mis­sions are sched­uled for end-March 2016, re­vised from the orig­i­nal dead­line for early Fe­bru­ary. There are eight in­vestors with a strong in­ter­est in that ten­der, he noted.

Pit­sior­las in par­tic­u­lar stressed the sig­nif­i­cance of Fra­port’s bid for 14 re­gional air­ports, which was re­cently re­newed. “This par­tic­u­lar con­ces­sion is very im­por­tant for the de­vel­op­ment of tourism and the econ­omy,” he said.

“The state will se­cure sig­nif­i­cant rev­enues, as some 50 per­cent of the net an­nual prof­its of Fra­port will be paid to the state,” Pit­sior­las said. “Greece will also col­lect an­nual rent of 23 mil­lion eu­ros and there will be a very high de­posit paid reach­ing 1.2 bil­lion eu­ros, an amount that hardly any­one had ex­pected.”

Pit­sior­las con­firmed that the deal with Fra­port will be signed by De­cem­ber and that it is ex­pected boost the coun­try’s im­age among for­eign in­vestors: “The mes­sage in all di­rec­tions will be: In­vest in Greece.”

Pit­sior­las avoided to set a clear tar­get for rev­enues from pri­va­ti­za­tions within 2016 and went on to say that the 2-bil­lion-euro tar­get in next year’s bud­get would be too ar­bi­trary to adopt as there are un­pre­dictable fac­tors such as the var­i­ous bids by in­vestors that could change the size of tak­ings sig­nif­i­cantly, up­ward or down­ward. How­ever, he did ap­pear op­ti­mistic that 2016 rev­enues will be “very sig­nif­i­cant.”

Pit­sior­las added that one of the big­gest chal­lenges ahead of TAIPED is re­vers­ing the neg­a­tive view of pri­va­ti­za­tions that pre­vails not just among politi­cians but also much of so­ci­ety.

“The only way for us to exit the vi­cious cir­cle of salary and pen­sion cuts is to take de­ci­sive steps for a re­turn to growth. Pri­va­ti­za­tions are the first step to chang­ing the eco­nomic cli­mate,” said Pit­sior­las.

TAIPED head Stergios Pit­sior­las told Kathimerini that he expects the Fra­port bid for 14 re­gional air­ports to be par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial.

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