ECONOMY

Losing bidder Elefsis says procedures ‘violated rules’

German shipyard HDW-Ferrostaal might have won the bidding war for Hellenic Shipyards but the procedures leading to the outcome were questionable, Nikos Tavoularis, head of Elefsis and Neorion shipyards, said. We consider that the process leading to the signing of the agreement with HDW-Ferrostaal violated the basic rules of the proclamation [relating to the sell-off of Hellenic Shipyards] and Law 2000/91, he told reporters at Neorion’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Monday, a company statement said yesterday. HDW-Ferrostaal and Elefsis were embroiled in a bitter contest for Hellenic Shipyard until last Thursday when the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) signed a contract handing over its 51-percent stake and the workers’ cooperative’s 49-percent holding to the German company. HDW-Ferrostaal also agreed to take over the Greek shipyard’s obligations and maintain its 1,400-strong workforce for at least six years. Tavoularis did not say whether he would contest the sale although prior to ETBA’s announcement, he had reportedly threatened to take the case to court. While Hellenic Shipyards has yet to post profits, provisional figures showed that Elefsis generated profits of 4.1 billion drachmas in the first nine months of the year. Neorion’s profits in the same period amounted to 1.75 billion drachmas. The figures pointed to the continuation of Neorion’s successful turnaround following its takeover by Tavoularis in 1992. Elefsis in which Neorion held a 70-percent stake, came under his control in 1997. Shareholders at the EGM on Monday approved a 3.98-billion-drachma share capital increase for Neorion and the increase in the share’s nominal value to 272.60 drachmas (0.80 euros) from 102 drachmas. The shipyard also launched another 14-million-drachma share capital increase by capitalizing its reserves. Following the capital increases, Neorion’s equity capital now amounts to 23,463,874 shares valued at 6.39 billion drachmas.