Three out of the eight parties interested in purchasing a majority stake in Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) have dropped out of the race, as only five of the original candidates have responded to a new invitation for expressions of interest by state privatization fund TAIPED.
The five groups to have renewed their interest in the operator of the country’s second biggest port are APM Terminals (a Maersk subsidiary), which was also interested in Piraeus Port Authority but did not table a bid, Russian Railways and GEK Terna (that are expected to table a joint bid), the Dubai-headquartered DP World (that is taking part in the tender via P&O), ICTSI from the Philippines, and German investment fund Deutsche Invest.
The groups that have not renewed their interest in OLTH are Mitsui from Japan, Yilport Holding from Turkey and Swiss-based Duferco.
Clearly no one can guarantee that any of the groups who express an interest will eventually table a binding offer. For instance, ICTSI recently announced it will cut its investments abroad, focusing instead on the further strengthening of its domestic presence.
DP World is an interesting case, having shown a dynamic interest in the previous privatization process for OLTH, concerning the sale of container handling activity in the late 2000s. At the start of the week the Dubai-based company signed a contract for the management of the port of Limassol in Cyprus for 25 years, so the combination of that with the operation of Thessaloniki port would benefit the group considerably.