Zero privatization revenues in Q1

With Greece?s creditors calling for two to three major privatizations within the year?s second quarter, the government is pushing for the utilization of state lotteries, the selling of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) group and possibly the sale of the Hellenic Horse Racing Company (ODIE).

However, representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — collectively known as the troika — are asking for the sale of emblematic state companies that would entail a significant reduction of the public sector. Such cases would be the Public Power Corporation (PPC), Athens Water Company (EYDAP) and Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), which would create a dent in the number of state employees.

The troika demand, as expressed in a 10-page document distributed by the prime minister distributed to Cabinet on Thursday, constitutes an indirect criticism of delays in the privatization program, as the selloff of state assets has all but frozen owing to the uncertainty caused by negotiations about the private sector involvement plan (PSI+) and about the new loan contract with the country?s institutional creditors.

As a result, all signs point to a zero sum of revenues from privatized assets in the first quarter of the year, against an original target for 3.3 billion euros.

Even the more likely privatization projects as channeled by the government and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) are not expected to fetch more than just 2 billion euros, and that is not before the second quarter of the year.

Revenues from the concession of licenses for state lotteries are estimated at 600 million euros, while the sale of the majority stake in DEPA (including gas grid operator DESFA) will come to 1 billion euros. TAIPED has also begun the process of the utilization of public real estate properties such as Elliniko, four major properties (Asteras at Vouliagmeni, Afandou on Rhodes, Cassiope on Corfu and the Golden Hall mall) and the sale and leaseback of 31 state buildings. The timeline and the level of revenues these properties will fetch remain uncertain though.

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