BUSINESS

Athens tries to lure Cosco into Greek shipyards

TASOS TELLOGLOU

TAGS: Privatizations

The government is seeking to pique Cosco’s interest in the sale of the Skaramangas and Elefsina shipyards, but the Chinese company appears reluctant to get involved in the overindebted schemes.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his deputy Yiannis Dragasakis and Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas have informed the Chinese of the Greek government’s interest in resurrecting Greece’s ship construction and repair industry, a plan which also includes the shipyard on the island of Syros.

This is not the first time Athens has tried its luck in this area, as three years ago the government led by Antonis Samaras had also tried pitching the idea to Cosco. However, preliminary talks for building Chinese ships in Greece did not lead to any tangible results.

Sources have told Kathimerini that,while Cosco would be interested in being involved in ship construction and repair activity in Greece, the management of the Chinese giant is not willing to get engaged in an ongoing battle between the Greek government and the European Commission regarding the return by the shipyards of state subsidies. This would concern an amount that could even exceed 540 million euros including interest and would burden the buyer of the shipyards.

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