BUSINESS

Greece seeks higher offer for old Athens airport development

Greece has given the only bidder in a deal to develop the former Athens airport of Hellinikon a week to improve its offer, the country's privatisations agency HRADF said on Wednesday.

Three times the size of Monaco, Hellenikon, one of Europe's biggest real estate projects, is crucial for the debt-laden country to meet its 2014 privatisations target.

HRADF did not disclose how much Greece's Lamda Development, backed by China's Fosun and an Abu Dhabi-based real estate company, offered for the 99-year lease of the seaside property.

"HRADF's board has asked Lamda Development to submit an improved offer by Wednesday, March 26,» the agency said in a statement, adding it would decide whether it would accept the offer by the end of the month.

Greece, which has been bailed out by the EU and IMF since 2010 with 240 billion euros has agreed with its creditors to raise 3.6 billion euros ($5.01 billion) from privatisations this year.

But Athens has repeatedly missed its privatisation goals and three government officials have said the 2014's target will probably be lowered to about 2.8 billion, mainly due to pending regulatory approvals and court rulings on several projects.

The Hellenikon site, located on Athens' southern coast, includes several derelict venues built for the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as a marina.

While Greece first launched the Hellenikon tender in 2011, it has taken more than two years to settle planning issues and remove legal hurdles raised by local communities and other opponents.

[Reuters]

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