Who bid for Hellenic Sugar?

The binding offers in the international tender for a 82.33 percent stake in the Hellenic Sugar Industry will be opened on Friday at 3 p.m.

Kathimerini understands that at least four bids have been tabled, compared with eight groups that had been short-listed in the first stage of the tender in September.

As to who the bidders might be, sources point to the groups which had expressed an interest and were short-listed in the unsuccessful tender last May. These originated from France, Poland and Serbia, and also included European and US private equity funds. No Greek interest has been reported, likely due to inability to gain backing from domestic banks.

The aim of the special liquidator, Nikos Marantos, is to select the winning bid within next month, so that the much-needed funds can be quickly cashed in, given that the process that has only seen unsuccessful tenders will have been ongoing for two years in February.

Piraeus Group, the owner of the company’s assets following the absorption of its previous owner, ATEbank, will seek to settle Hellenic Sugar’s loans (totaling 130 million euros) with the tender winner. Sources tell Kathimerini that the groups that have submitted binding offers have already met with Piraeus Bank officials to find out how the settlement of the loans to the Greek lender will be conducted.

France’s Cristal Financiere had been chosen as the preferred bidder last March, but it backed out as its demand for a generous haircut to the industry’s loans was not implemented. Also short-listed were Bulgarian firm Litex and Serbia’s Sunoko.

A senior Hellenic Sugar source argues that the reason tenders have failed to date is that its shares remained with the bad part of ATEbank that is currently under liquidation and that it had to become clear which bank the industry’s loans would be transferred to. The same source added that Piraeus will have to announce the level of loan debts that it considers non-negotiable, so that the bidders know that the price of the stock will be the only tender criterion.