Well-endowed ETA applies for listing on the Athens bourse

State-owned Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) yesterday submitted an application to be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE). ETA will float 30 percent of its 301.8-million-euro share capital, in shares with a nominal value of 2.50 euros each. The share price to arise through the book-building procedure is projected at 4.50-5.50 euros and the company expects to raise about 180 million euros. Group turnover for 2003 is estimated at 127 million euros and profit before taxes and minority rights at 43 million. These are expected to rise to 168 million and 59 million euros respectively in 2004. ETA, which was set up in 2000 to manage and develop the properties of the Greek National Tourism Organization, holds rights to 357 real estate items throughout Greece, totaling 7,000 hectares in area. Such rights varyingly concern administration, management, use, commercial operations and leasing. About 130 of these properties, whose utilization has been considered unfeasible, are planned to be turned over to municipal authorities. A further 72 have been selected for development, mainly through partial sales or leasing agreements with private entrepreneurs. Plans are at an advanced stage for several of them, including the Corfu casino and the Alimos marina on the southern Athens coastline. ETA is currently considering three bids for an 80 percent stake in the casino, submitted on December 15, and has plans for the sale of a 49 or 51 percent stake in the Alimos marina. Both schemes will include commitments for major investments by the winners. ETA is also part owner of the Astir Palace Hotel, near Vouliagmeni, to which it plans to transfer ownership rights on an adjacent 12-hectare area for 16 million euros; Astir has enjoyed commercial operating rights for the last 28 years. The hotel will also be given the management of Vouliagmeni marina for five years, for an annual payment to ETA of 650,000 euros, and will undertake to carry out a 2-million-euro investment program. ETA will also buy back the operating rights to the Astir Glyfada Hotel from the National Bank of Greece and lease it out for 35 years through an open tender. A similar leasing arrangement is envisaged for the Kammena Vourla spa facility, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of Athens. ETA is also considering its participation in consortiums for the development and commercial operation of the big Athens conference center and the Anavyssos theme park. There are similar plans for several other tourism facilities in various parts of the country.