Gov’t eyes state company reserves

The government appears to be eyeing the 850 million euros in cash reserves belonging to the five listed state corporations in its mission to secure enough liquidity to cover its May obligations.

On December 31 last year, the five listed state firms had 851.4 billion euros in their coffers, while the sum stands at almost 1 billion euros if one adds the reserves of the DEPA and DESFA state gas companies.

The government’s plans were revealed at the annual general meeting of the Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) on Wednesday: The OLTH board was forced to change the corporation’s dividend policy following the intervention of representatives of state sell-off fund TAIPED. The board announced it would propose to the company’s shareholders the distribution of 1.95 euros per share, against the 0.70 euros it had announced a month ago. That means that OLTH will pay out 19.6 million euros to its shareholders, or 92 percent of the 2014 net profits (totaling 21.4 million euros), of which 15 million euros will go directly or indirectly to the state, the main shareholder.

This development has raised fears among investors that there will be dividend policy revisions by other listed state companies too.

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