ECONOMY

Delay in deal with troika holds back privatizations

The Greek privatizations program is experiencing a fresh round of delays as the agreement between the government and its foreign creditors — determining the release of the much-needed bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euros — has yet to be signed.

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), which runs the sell-off program, keeps extending deadlines in order to gain time and improve the terms and conditions for sale agreements as much as possible. After the three-week extension to the deadline for the expression of interest in OPAP gaming company, the fund last week announced a 10-day extension for the expression of non-binding interest in natural gas companies DEPA and DESFA.

Meanwhile, the delay in the recapitalization of local banks, which depends on the bailout funding, has creates a funding gap in attempted privatizations, given that about one-third of the total cost for investors in sell-off projects is expected to be covered by domestic lenders, another third from foreign banks and the rest from investors? own funds.