ECONOMY

TAIPED?s first privatization deal is sealed

The first privatization project for 2012 was completed on Friday, as the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) of the 2004 Olympic Games was leased to Lamda Domi, a subsidiary of the Lamda Development construction group, for the next 90 years. The concession agreement will involve an advance payment of 81 million euros, with an additional 32.4 million euros maximum to come in the future.

Lamda was always the favorite to land the contract due to the fact that it is the developer behind the Golden Hall shopping mall which currently occupies the IBC premises in Maroussi, northern Athens. Lamda had signed a contract in 2007 with the Greek state for an annual lease rate of 7.25 million euros, which would be adjusted according to inflation. The lease rate climbed to 8 million euros last year. That contract was for 40 years, with an extension option for another six.

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) accepted its consultants?proposal for the IBC building yesterday, thereby securing its first revenues from a state asset. The lease rate will be adjusted upward each time the country?s credit rating is upgraded, according to sources.

?The full utilization of the IBC will not only upgrade the specific area commercially but will also rekindle investment interest in the country?s real estate market,? commented Yiannis Emiris, TAIPED?s chief executive officer.

The deal has brought a degree of relief for the fund, even though it had been clear that the Latsis Group which owns Lamda would be the winning bidder. The amount paid in advance illustrates the Latsis Group?s commitment to the investment, and also signifies a vote of confidence in the Greek economy while improving the mood in the market in general.