The sale of 100 percent of railway services operator Trainose to Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FSI) was formally signed in Athens on Wednesday, in the absence of any cabinet members or journalists, completing a crucial privatization project that rids the state of a loss-making entity.
The holding company that manages infrastructure and services on the Italian rail network will pay a total of 45 million euros for the transaction, which is pending the approval of the European competition authorities – with the matter of the state subsidy concerning Trainose’s 700-million-euro debt to parent firm OSE remaining unresolved.
The signatories on Wednesday were state sell-off fund TAIPED’s chief executive officer Antonis Leousis and his FSI counterpart Renato Mazzoncini, while Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis – who had repeatedly voiced his opposition to the sale of Trainose – was conveniently out of the country, on a visit to Russia.
In a statement FSI said that the acquisition of Trainose forms part of the strategic plan for the expansion of the Italian group in Europe. “It is also an opportunity for growth for the Greek railways that can count on the know-how and experience of the Italian State Railways,” the statement added.