ECONOMY

Astir Palace to fetch record amount for a Greek hotel

The Greek hotel sector’s sale of the century is coming up soon as the tender for the sale of Astir Palace luxury resort at Vouliagmeni, southern Attica, is in its second stage.

“Never before has so much money been offered for the acquisition of a hotel complex in Greece as for Astir of Vouliagmeni,” a hotel industry professional who has knowledge of the bids has told Kathimerini.

No fewer than 13 companies and consortiums from Greece and abroad have been short-listed for the second stage of the tender. Sources say that there have also been discussions about merging some of the bids, which is permitted by the tender conditions. The only limitation for such a merger is that no more than three original bidders can participate in a new one. There has also been interest from investors wishing to join the existing candidacies.

According to the timetable of the tender, there is to be no delay whatsoever in its implementation. Participants will have to submit binding offers by October 21. However, a small extension is not unlikely.

Those in the know expect the final number of participants submitting binding bids to be fewer than 10. As things stand, the keys to the hotel will be handed over to the new owner in spring 2014, following the completion of the so-called Special Plan for the Development of the Public Property.

Astir Palace covers an area of 304,000 square meters, of which the Greek state owns 111,000 sq.m. Through a subsidiary company, Astir has also leased an adjacent plot of 47,000 sq.m. concerning the nearby marina. The marina is undergoing modernization, with works budgeted at 3 million euros approved for it. The marina is currently operating at maximum capacity with a number of large yachts on its waiting list for mooring.

The company is expected to return to operating profit this year, as, besides the reorganization program that has reduced costs, there is also a rising trend in room bookings.

In the first half of the year, there was a 3.8 percent drop in group revenues, mostly due to the fact that there were no Posidonia exhibition events this year as the international shipping exhibition only takes place every other year.