Greece expected to sign off on key privatisation deals by year-end - source

Greece expected to sign off on key privatisation deals by year-end - source
By Reuters
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ATHENS - Greece is set to sign off this year on a long-term concession for its longest highway and a gas company sale, helping it meet an annual 2.2 billion euro ($2.49 billion) revenue target from state assets, a Greek source close to the talks said on Monday.

A consortium of GEK Terna and Egis Projects last year won the 35-year concession to operate the Egnatia Odos highway linking a western Greek port, a main entry point from Italy, to the northeastern border with Turkey for 1.5 billion euros.

"The signing is expected to take place within 2022, and let's hope we have the financial closing as well," said the source, referring to the concession for the 658-km highway.

Greece is also due to get 476 million euros from the sale of Greek gas grid DEPA Infrastructure to Italgas by June, the source said, adding that approvals by relevant authorities were at the final stages.

Athens has raised a total of 7.6 billion euros from privatisations since 2011, a key plank of its three international bailouts which ended in 2018.

Under a post-bailout surveillance programme, the country has promised to stick to its privatisation drive to help reduce debt, which remains the euro zone's highest, and overhaul state companies to boost economic growth.

Athens secured just 680 million euros from the plan in the 2020-2021 period as uncertainty prompted by the coronavirus pandemic reduced the value of its assets and discouraged investors.

The Greek government is also reviewing the sale of a 30% stake of Athens International Airport, Greece's biggest, which has been on hold since the COVID-19 outbreak brought world travel to a standstill early in 2020.

ADP Groupe, Ferrovial and Vinci Airports are among nine investors shortlisted for the asset.

"There is still interest from shortlisted investors and the right timing and model are being examined," the source said, adding that a well-established normality was necessary for the relaunch.

Binding bids for majority stake sales in the ports of Alexandroupolis in northern Greece and Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece were also expected by June.

"Some minimum investments will be needed to make those assets operate properly," the source said.

($1 = 0.8831 euros)

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