Three percent of Greek land up for sale
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Protopsaltis, Greece’s privatization coordinator, attends an Istanbul meet. DAILY NEWS photoGreek authorities see Turkey as a strong alternative to Western investors in buying tens of billions of euros worth of its state assets, as a part of the country’s large privatization plan imposed by its creditors.
The Greek sell-out plan includes ports, airports, power plants, highways and energy firms, a top official said yesterday during an Istanbul meeting to promote assets to Turkish businesses. Turkey has a rapidly growing economy despite the global economic woes.
“Three percent of Greek land is on sale,” said Panos Protopsaltis, head of Privatization Program of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, (HRAD) speaking to Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the “Privatizations in Greece and Opportunities” meeting, which was attended by large business missions from both countries.
“Turkish firms are more than welcome to invest in Greece, as assets in the privatization basket are under normal market conditions,” the Greek official said, noting that a total of over 71,000 properties on 3.4 billion square meters of land across the country were waiting for investors from Turkey, as well as from other countries.
“I am confident that there will be no obstacles against Turkish investors who would like to take part in the tenders,” said Protopsaltis, speaking at the meeting organized by the Foreign Economic Board Relations Board of Turkey (DEİK).
The HRAD brought a vast portfolio of potential privatizations to the meeting, totaling roughly 50 billion euros. The program aims to generate nearly 19 billion euros in cash by 2015.
“We would like to see Botaş (Turkey’s state-owned pipeline firm) taking part in tender for Greek gas pipeline operator DEPA,” he told the Daily News. Recently, Russia’s Gazprom also announced that it was considering bidding for DEPA.
In the absence of investors willing to commit fund for Greek assets, he called on Turkish business people to take advantage of the low prices.
“It is almost impossible to receive loans from Greek banks currently. Partnering with Turkish firms, Greek companies may benefit from loans provided by Turkish lenders in order to secure their businesses from a lack of liquidity,” Dimitris Papanicolaou, chairman of Greek-Turkish Business Council, told the Daily News. According to him, “both sides of Aegean have got closer during the economic crisis.”
Islands for sale
“Greece has over 6,000 islands, and the operation rights of some plots on these islands may be transferred,” said Aristomenis M. Syngros, chairman of the Invest in Greece Agency, welcoming the potential Turkish investors’ interest in local tourism sector.
Adnan Nas, board member of Global Investment Holdings, said his company was currently interested in eight ports in Greece.
“We can finance the tenders worth less than 1 million euros on our own,” he told the Daily News. “For bigger tenders, we might seek a foreign partner.” he noted. İpragaz, one of the leading Turkish firms in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector, plans to acquire an LPG firm in Greece, according to Alp Ergüngör, its operation support executive.
“This is the best time to invest in Greece,” said Selim Egeli, the head of Turkish-Greek Business Council at DEİK, noting that many Greek firms had applied to the council to look for potential Turkish partners or investors.
ASSETS FOR SALE IN 2012
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
29 percent in Greek Organization of Football Prognostics, touristic facility with golf course and seven kilometers long beach in Rhodes
35 percent of oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum, nickel mining company LARCO, Horserace betting firm ODIE, 49 percent in Athens Casino, Egnatia Odos motorway, Athens and Thessaloniki water and sewerage firms, small ports and marinas
37 regional airports
12 ports, state stake in ATE Bank, Postal Bank, truck assembler ELVO, train operator TRAINOSE
Athens may miss debt goal
Greece’s international creditors see “significant risks” that the country might fail to bring down its debt burden within targets, meaning it would require more rescue loans, according to The Associated Press. In a document seen by news agency yesterday, creditors say Greece’s program “could be accident prone.”
“Authorities may not be able to implement reforms at the pace envisioned,” said the report.
On top of concerns that reforms are too slow, the Greek economy faces a grim outlook.