Battle of OLP control continues, but sell-off clears another hurdle

Battle of OLP control continues, but sell-off clears another hurdle

The power struggle for control of the soon-to-be-privatized Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) continues, and a governing board meeting on Wednesday on state privatization fund TAIPED’s proposal for a general meeting of the Athens-listed company is expected to be a contentious affair.

The main clash is expected on the first issue of the general meeting’s agenda – that being the replacement of board members, who are the ones being asked to approve the proposal for the meeting. TAIPED is said to have confronted Shipping Minister Theodoros Dritsas again on the matter, as it was he that handpicked most of the current board members.

Some of those members are seen as “reluctant” regarding OLP’s privatization, resorting to petty tactics in order to delay the sale of the authority to the preferred bidder. Part of that strategy was the January 15 board decision in favor of setting up a committee to continue negotiating the concession agreement, disputing the TAIPED process that completed the tender.

“With such a governing board, it is a miracle that the procedure has even got this far,” say people familiar with developments in Piraeus.

In fact, the port’s privatization cleared another hurdle on Tuesday, as the State Audit Council approved the sale of a 67 percent stake in OLP to Cosco Pacific. Two more ratifications of the concession remain, those by the OLP general meeting and Parliament.

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