Government seeks progress with privatizations

Greece’s privatization fund (TAIPED) is expected to adopt its final decisions on the securitization of revenues from public real estate assets by November at the latest, when the number of assets assigned to it for sale is projected to have increased appreciably and the fund will have hired an consultant for the project. TAIPED and the troika hope to collect about 1 billion euros from the securitization.

Progress in the transfer of assets to the fund for sale has been painfully slow. So far only 290 public real estate assets have been transferred and about 700 more must assigned by the end of the year. In theory, about 250 such assets on average must be transferred to TAIPED on a quarterly basis this year. According to TAIPED officials, the ministerial privatizations committee is soon expected to approve the transfer of about 250 more assets for sale.

The second urgent pending matter is the hiring of a consultant to study the matter of the securitization of public properties and propose the most suitable solutions. The tender has already been issued and one of the three foreign banks that have expressed an interest (BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and UBS) is expected to be picked in the coming weeks.

“The task at hand for the consultant will be to select the assets to be included in one or more rounds of securitization,” a TAIPED official told Kathimerini.

The troika is hoping that the securitization of future privatization proceeds will make up for the shortfall in public revenues. The 1 billion euros targeted in the revised bailout memorandum represents the shortfall created by the failure earlier this year in the privatization of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA).

The securitization of proceeds from the sale of public assets had been proposed by TAIPED last year but had been shelved without being dropped, only to be resuscitated last spring.

According to TAIPED, despite the negative macroeconomic environment and the lack of liquidity and interest in greenfield investments, public property assets do help enhance the proceeds from the privatizations program. So far contracts have been signed for 180 million euros in future proceeds from the privatized assets of the IBC-Golden Hall mall, the Cassiope area of Corfu, properties abroad and other smaller assets. More are in the pipeline.