Busy week ahead for sell-off projects

Busy week ahead for sell-off projects

The year is ending on something of a high as far as privatization projects are concerned, as one week after the signing of the agreement between state sell-off fund TAIPED and the Fraport-led consortium for the operation of 14 regional airports, the fund is expecting the binding bids for the controlling stake in Piraeus Port Authority on Monday, while early next week TAIPED, National Bank (NBG) and preferred bidder Jermyn Street Real Estate will likely announce their agreement regarding the concession of Astir Palace Resort.

TAIPED is anticipating at least three offers from interested buyers of high caliber, such as Cosco, Maersk and others, but the focus will also be on the amounts offered. Last spring TAIPED had been expecting revenues of 350 million euros from the 67 percent stake, while this week The Wall Street Journal cited sources that raised the expected bids up to 400 million. That compares with the stake’s bourse value of 240 million euros, although such a premium is often paid when the transfer of management is also included in a deal.

The agreement between TAIPED, NBG and Jermyn Street for the latter to take over Astir Palace will probably be announced before Christmas, and Kathimerini understands from TAIPED sources that the deal will carry a price tag of 400 million euros and provide for a rather mild development of the resort at Vouliagmeni.

The new, milder zoning plan for the area of over 300,000 square meters in southern Athens will be in harmony with the demands of the Council of State, which had rejected the previous one.

The plan will be submitted for approval early next year, according to the same sources. Of the 400 million euros expected, TAIPED will only cash in 100 million, as the rest will go to National Bank, which holds the majority stake in the resort.

The next major project will be gas network operator DESFA, which should be completed within the first half of 2016 and bring in some 400 million euros, of which 187 million will go to TAIPED. Trainose, Rosco and Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) will follow, with one TAIPED official saying that “if OLP goes ahead, the sales of OLTH and Trainose will be a walk in the park,” as the public’s perception of privatizations is gradually changing.

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