Gov’t to sell off OPAP, ODIE, Larco and other stakes

The government’s midterm fiscal plan for the 2012-15 period, presented to ministers on Friday, includes the sale of holdings in key state companies such as utilities and banks with the aim of raising some 15 billion euros by 2013 and up to 50 billion by 2015.

Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou presented the Cabinet with a detailed privatization plan that also provides for interventions to the amount of 3 billion euros in order to cover the budget’s shortfalls in 2011.

The plan suggests that the government intends to sell stakes in OTE telecom and the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) this year, and in gaming company OPAP, ATEbank and Public Power Corporation (PPC) in 2012, among others.

The state will reduce its holdings in PPC from 51 percent to 34 percent next year, while maintaining the electricity giant’s management. It will also lower its stake in DEPA to 34 percent this year. Mining company Larco will be fully privatized within 2011.

It is also planning to reduce the state’s share in the water companies of Athens and Thessaloniki (EYDAP and EYATH respectively) by attracting private investors.

The state’s controlling stake in ATEbank will be reduced after the planned capital share increase and its restructuring, but the state will maintain a majority share. The government will also sell a part of its holdings in Hellenic Postbank up to 2013.

Hellenic Post will see the introduction of a strategic investor in 2012, aimed at improving the presence of the state mail service across the country, the government suggested.

OPAP and the Horse Racing Organization of Greece (ODIE) will be both fully privatized next year, while the games of chance market will finally see the issuing of permits this year.

The concession contract for Athens International Airport will be extended this year and the state’s stake will be reduced to allow private capital to come in.

Other provisions of the privatization blueprint provide for the utilization of public-owned real estate, through the creation of a single register, and of the digital spectrum, the creation of fiberoptic infrastructure through a public-private partnership and the privatization of casinos.

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