ECONOMY

Delays and problems hamper collection of sell-off revenues

The 2.6-billion-euro revenues target from privatizations this year appears to be growing ever more distant, as state privatization fund TAIPED is showing revenues close to zero for the first half of the year.

According to TAIPED’s report for the first quarter of 2013, the fund handling the country’s all-important sell-off program has only recorded revenues of 69 million euros, from the concession of the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) to Lamda Development last summer.

TAIPED ended the January-March quarter with losses of 1.02 million euros. Delays in the completion of tenders due to repeated postponements and sluggishness in the approval of contracts have altered the implementation timetable of several sell-off projects.

Consequently the only revenues that TAIPED can hope to record in the first half of the year will be from the sale of four state properties abroad. Once these contracts are signed some 41 million euros will come into the fund’s coffers. This will be from the properties in London (27.5 million euros), Nicosia (8.3 million), Brussels (3.2 million) and Belgrade (2.07 million). Adding the IBC revenues, TAIPED will have takings of 110 million euros by end-June, which does not bode well for meeting the target of 2.6 billion by the end of the year.

It is increasingly clear that rumors about lowering the target to 2 billion will soon become true, and it is not at all certain that the revised target will be attainable either.

There are also major delays in the licensing process for the 12-year operation of the state lotteries, won by a consortium comprising OPAP, Intralot, Scientific Games and Lottomatica. It took months for the State Audit Council to issue its approval, while the competent competition authorities are yet to do so. As a result the 190 million euros that would have been paid to TAIPED immediately is still on hold, with rumors raging as to the reasons.

TAIPED is further awaiting the 23 million euros it has agreed to receive from US company NCH Capital for the 99-year lease of the plot at Cassiope in northern Corfu. The only chance for the fund to make its target is the swift signing of contracts for OPAP and a conclusion to the tenders for gas companies DEPA and DESFA.