Saturday August 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
32o C
25o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece prepares to lease 40 uninhabited islands

Skorpios is owned by the Onassis shipping heiress Athina Onassis.

By Sharon Smyth

Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has identified 40 uninhabited islands and islets that could be leased for as long as 50 years to reduce debt as pressure grows on the country to revive an asset-sales plan key to receiving international aid.

“We identified locations that have good terrain, are close to the mainland and have a well-developed infrastructure and, at the same time, pose no threat to national security,” Andreas Taprantzis, the fund’s executive director for real estate, said in a Sept 6. interview in Athens. “Current legislation doesn’t allow us to sell them outright and we don’t want to.”

The fund is charged with raising 50 billion euros from state assets by 2020 to meet conditions tied to pledges of 240 billion euros in foreign aid. As international inspectors in Athens scrutinize the country’s fitness to receive the latest aid payment, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said commercial exploitation of some islands could generate the revenue lenders need to see to continue funding the country.

The shortlist includes islands ranging in size from 500,000 square meters (5.4 million square feet) to 3 million square meters, and which can be developed into high-end integrated tourist resorts under leases lasting 30 years to 50 years, Taprantzis said.

The fund reviewed 562 of the estimated 6,000 islands and islets under Greek sovereignty. While some are already privately owned, such as Skorpios by the Onassis shipping heiress Athina Onassis, the state owns islands such as Fleves, which is near the coastal resort area of Vouliagmeni, and a cluster of three islands near Corfu. Taprantzis declined to name any of the islands.

Legislation needs to be passed to allow development of public property by third parties and reduce the number of building, environmental and zoning permits needed before the plan can proceed, Taprantzis said.

Outright sales have been ruled out because the returns for the Greek state wouldn’t be higher than a leasehold arrangement, he said. Greece will attract more investment if an island is turned into a resort, he said.

Selling public land outright is a politically sensitive issue in Greece. In 1996, Greece and Turkey almost went to war over who owned the uninhabited Aegean islet of Imia, known as Kardak in Turkey. A proposal by Greece’s lenders last year to increase revenue from asset sales including property drew opposition from then-premier George Papandreou, who said he’d legislate to prohibit such sales.

The country has only raised about 1.8 billion euros from its asset sales program, sparking criticism among European officials that the government isn’t moving quickly enough to reduce debt. Months of negotiations over the country’s debt restructuring earlier this year, the largest ever, and two general elections that threatened Greece’s membership of the euro area also held back progress on sales.

Takis Athanasopoulos, the fund’s new chairman, said the goal of generating 19 billion euros from state asset sales by 2015 can be met as long as Greece’s business environment is “appropriate.”

The fund will be able to gauge demand for Greek real estate as it revives a tender to develop a golf course on the island of Rhodes, Taprantzis said.

The fund chose six groups, which include London & Regional Group Holdings Ltd. and NCH Capital Inc., out of seven contenders to enter a second round of bidding for developing a strip of land on the island. A preferred bidder for the site measuring 1.85 million square meters, including an 18-hole golf course, is expected to be chosen by the end of February, the fund said yesterday.

“We are enthusiastic about the potential of this particular tender and what it reveals about market sentiment for Greek assets at this time,” Taprantzis said.

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday September 12, 2012 (10:10)  
External factors threatening Greek recovery
Vodafone to buy 73 pct more of Hellas Online for 73 mln euros
Tourist road arrivals head for new record
OAEE ups pressure for unpaid fees
New Democracy should look to center ground, says Mitsotakis
Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed opposition on Friday to New Democracy’s apparent plans to bring back into the fold politicians who had left the party in the past...
Education Ministry says almost 180,000 tertiary students ´stagnant´
A total of 178,458 people have failed to complete their tertiary education studies but are still registered as students, the Education Ministry said on Friday. According to the ministry, 139...
Inside News
West Brom sign Greek international striker Samaras
West Bromwich Albion have signed Greece striker Georgios Samaras on a two-year contract following his release from Scottish champions Celtic, the English Premier League club said on Friday. ...
SOCCER
Panathinaikos, Asteras Tripolis notch up vital wins in Europa League
Thursday proved a very productive night for two of the three Greek teams performing in the Europa League as Panathinaikos and Asteras Tripolis secured vital wins in the first legs of their p...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
On steroids
Bodybuilders are in a league of their own. They rarely make headlines for their achievements, their performance, or being role models. In contrast, they’re more likely to make the news due t...
EDITORIAL
Time to kick a stupid habit
Official figures indicate that tax dodging continues unabated across Greece’s tourist areas. According to data made available by the Finance Ministry following checks conducted between July ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. New Democracy should look to center ground, says Mitsotakis
2. Education Ministry says almost 180,000 tertiary students ´stagnant´
3. Hardouvelis ready to make changes to property tax after MP talks
4. Ancient Amphipolis tomb unlikely to have been looted, says lead archaeologist
5. Anti-terrorism squad called in after 300,000-euro bank robbery
6. External factors threatening Greek recovery
more news
Today
This Week
1. Aftershocks rattle Halkidiki after strong 5-Richter quake
2. Coast guard intercepts 180 migrants in Aegean in two days
3. Greek peach farmers await Brussels decision on compensation
4. Avramopoulos, Hagel hammer out 'roadmap' of defense cooperation
5. Hardouvelis hears grievances of coalition MPS to unified property tax bill
6. Spanish government bonds rise with Italy's before Draghi speech
Today
This Week
1. Carved sphinxes at Ancient Amphipolis tomb will not be removed
2. The magical mountain
3. Merkel cites euro’s ‘construction flaws’ as economy sputters
4. Greek stock recovery fading away as ASE falls 21 pct on valuations
5. Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach
6. Second man held over double murder in Mani
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.