ECONOMY

Officials to head to China to promote sell-offs

The government will send a mission to China this month with its privatization plan worth up to 50 billion euros, aiming at attracting ?long-term investors,? a report in the Chinese press stated yesterday, while sell-off projects in Greece are not picking up speed as Athens had been hoping.

According to China Daily, the Greek consul general in Shanghai, Evgenios Kalpyris said a group of high-ranking Greek officials will travel to Shanghai on November 30 in an effort to promote the Greek asset privatization package.

The mission?s aim will be to ?dissipate negative impressions by presenting the true economic potential of Greece,? the consul general stated. He added that Chinese entrepreneurs will have a very good opportunity to get ?authoritative and updated information on investment opportunities in Greece, showcasing it as a truly attractive investment destination armed with a friendly legal framework.?

Kalpyris revealed there is strong Chinese interest in investing in the technology, food and drink, banking and real estate industries. He added that the aim of the mission would not be to ?plug budget holes,? but to identify the people who have the funds and intend to assist the Greek economy.

Notably, the newspaper also cites Wang Yunfan, deputy editor-in-chief of Chinese financial newspaper 21st Century Business Herald, who said that up to now some 10 institutional investors from China, including large state-owned enterprises, leading financial institutions and prominent private enterprises, have shown interest in the Greek privatizations plan.

Greece?s long-term goal for sell-off revenues of 50 billion euros appears increasingly difficult to attain due to delays in the procedures and long spells of political uncertainty during the last couple of years. Against an original target for revenues of 19 billion euros by 2016, Athens is now aspiring to collect 11 billion by that year, according to the midterm fiscal plan that will be put to the vote in Parliament next week.

Sources from the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) told Kathimerini that the sell-off of Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and the gas transmission network operator (DESFA) will not be completed before the first quarter of 2013, while the OPAP gaming company will have to wait until the second quarter of next year.