Athens set to miss privatization goal

Greece will not meet a goal of raising 3.2 billion euros this year from state-asset sales after two elections in six weeks brought preparations to a halt, said an official at the fund handling the disposals.

The target, which is a condition for Greece?s international aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, will not be met because the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) will only be able to complete two sales this year, said the official in Athens, who asked not to be identified.

Those two projects are a contract for a state lottery and the lease of the IBC conference center, he said. The pace of asset sales will be stepped up next year, with the fund set to complete 23 projects, he said.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has pledged to accelerate state asset sales, a centerpiece of debt-reduction efforts. The sales, which are expected to raise as much as 50 billion euros up to 2022, have been hung up by political disputes and opposition from unions and complicated by bureaucratic problems such as a lack of deeds for real estate.

TAIPED Chief Executive Costas Mitropoulos said on May 17 that the program would suffer months of delays amid the second election to choose a new government. His comment came a day after the fund?s board decided to freeze all projects until the June 17 vote.


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