ECONOMY

Railways, properties abroad and horce racing on TAIPED’s agenda

State privatization fund TAIPED is keen to sign the contracts for the sale of four overseas properties this week in a bid to record some revenues for the first half of the year, given that all other sell-off projects within 2013 have failed to yield any cash to date.

The privatization fund stands to make 41.1 million euros from the state properties in London, Belgrade, Brussels and Nicosia, which, if added to the revenues from the sale of the International Broadcasting Center – arranged last year – would take the total for H1 takings to 110 million euros, a far cry from the 2.6-billion-euro requirement for the whole of the year.

By the end of the week, TAIPED is also supposed to start the tender process for the sell-off of rail service operator Trainose and carriage management company Rosco. According to the timetable, binding offers should be tabled by October for the contract to be awarded by early 2014.

Russian Railways was until recently a certain suitor, but after developments with the tender for the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), with the departure of Gazprom, everything is possible. However, it is almost certain that there will be some involvement from China, as after the completion of the Ikonio rail link in Piraeus the Chinese now associate Trainose with their presence at the country’s main port.

The French may also enter the bidding process through a consortium, given that they are only interested in the Athens-Thessaloniki route, while the Germans are waiting on the sidelines. According to sources, the latter are not prepared to bid for now.

Furthermore, in the next four weeks, TAIPED expects to collect binding offers for an exclusive 20-year license for horse-racing betting, so that the winner will have been chosen by end-July.

The winner of the tender will also have the right to build and operate additional race tracks to the existing one at Markopoulo and the right to lease the Markopoulo course without having to shoulder the obligations of the Hellenic Horse-Race Betting Organization (ODIE).