ECONOMY

Court blocks sale of luxury Astir seaside resort

Greece’s top administrative court has blocked the sale of a luxury seaside resort outside Athens to an Arab-Turkish fund, court officials said on Thursday, dealing a further blow to the country’s battered privatisation plan.

Greece’s privatisation agency (HRADF) and the country’s biggest lender National Bank, the main shareholder of the asset, have signed a 400 million euro ($443 million) deal with Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund for the sale of the Astir Palace hotel complex and the development of a site.

The agency was expected to cash in 100 million euros from the deal.

But the country’s top administrative court decided the town planning scheme that Greece submitted for the plot violated Greek law.

The construction of a large number of residential buildings based on the urban development scheme of the property would harm the natural, cultural and urban environment in the area, the judges said, according to the officials.

Greece’s state asset sale scheme has produced poor revenues since the country was first bailed out five years ago by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The left-right coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which came to power after a snap general election in January, promised not to cancel completed privatisations, as part of a four-month extension of the country’s bailout programme agreed with its international lenders last month.

[Reuters]