BUSINESS

Trainose sell-off to be delayed again

VANGELIS MANDRAVELIS

TAGS: Privatizations

It seems the process for the submission of binding bids for Greece’s railway service operator Trainose is heading for further delays.

Informed sources say that the time remaining before the submission deadline is considered insufficient by the two interested parties, Trenitalia and Russian Railways (RZD), and an extension of a few days or even weeks will be required.

Requests to that end have already reached state sell-off fund TAIPED from both the Italians and the Russians, who wish to submit their binding offers in a more stable economic environment than the current one.

The same sources explain that Trenitalia and RZD would rather send their offers once the bailout review has proceeded and after the negative impression created by the blockade on the railway tracks at Idomeni in northern Greece has had a chance to subside.

After two tenders and two postponements, the existing deadline for the submission of binding offers is May 31. However, given that the bailout review will not be sealed before May 24, it is highly unlikely the interested investors will have had a chance to assess the new landscape and submit their offers in just seven days.

The other matter, which is surely a concern for the Greek side too, is that they want to wait until the migrants currently occupying the railway tracks at Idomeni in protest at the closure of the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been removed. Investors have been less than impressed by the negligence of the Greek government that has kept Idomeni blocked for some two months now. Market professionals say that this blockade has particularly hurt small enterprises in northern Greece, putting their sustainability at risk.

A third factor that could lead to another deadline extension is the delays in the sell-off process itself: Notably the agreement between Trainose and carriage maintenance company Rosco has not yet been signed, although that should have happened in January.

Online