Sell-off advisor hires may be delay tactic

Sell-off advisor hires may be delay tactic

State sell-off fund TAIPED has launched the process for selecting consultants for some of its troubled privatization projects, though the question remains over whether they will advance any further.

The fund has started recruiting advisors for the sale of its stakes in OTE telecom (5 percent), Hellenic Petroleum (35 percent), the Athens and Thessaloniki water companies (11 and 23 percent respectively), and gas grid operator DESFA (66 percent).

The process to find consultants for the sale of holdings in Public Power Corporation (17 percent), Public Gas Corporation (65 percent) and Athens International Airport (30 percent) has not yet started, but it appears this will happen soon.

What is being disputed now, however, is the fund’s sincere intention to complete the sale of those stakes, not because there are no buyers or the TAIPED management is not efficient enough, but because it is the government itself that will hamper the privatization process. This has already been the case with the 17 percent stake in PPC, and most people believe the government is using the process of recruiting consultants in order to gain some time while implementing one of the demands of the country’s creditors. It is likely this will be followed by delay tactics.

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