BUSINESS

Burning privatization issues

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Privatizations

The government is facing hard legislative and executive work ahead to complete the privatization projects that have been ongoing for a long time and to proceed with others that have run into problems. At the same time, it will take an extra push to start other projects concerning the privatization of state assets that have not been utilized.

And all this in a period when the state asset privatization fund (TAIPED) requires staffing and significant expansion to operate as the central mechanism for the maturation of projects the government wishes to advance in the context both of the Next Generation EU fund and the Public Investments Program in general.

The list of pending projects includes major privatizations such as the Elliniko development, the Egnatia Odos highway, the two units of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA Infrastructures and DEPA Commercial) and minor ones such as regional ports, but also difficult projects such as the Larco mining company.

Among the complex cases there are also entire sectors of the local manufacturing industry, such as defense companies and the ship repair sector. There are actually some indications of moderate interest in shipyards from investors, at the prices the state is seeking; for the defense companies plenty will depend on the government decisions about arms procurements and the disposition of foreign investors to get involved, while the energy privatizations are seeing potential investors seeking more time than that granted by the authorities.

In other cases, such as Larco and the Skaramangas Shipyards, the procedures have the additional challenge of being split into specific projects by separate entities – i.e. TAIPED and the administrators – which makes the completion of the privatizations even more complex.

In several cases the government will have to legislate, as in the development of Elliniko, and, probably, the shipyards. A top priority for this month is the acceleration of procedures for the state’s financial transaction with Lamda Development concerning Elliniko. This project has two main outstanding issues: the announcement of the Mohegan/GEK Terna consortium as the winner of the casino permit, and the resolution of ownership issues among investors.

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