ECONOMY

Ellaktor banking on higher tolls

ellaktor-banking-on-higher-tolls

For construction conglomerate Ellaktor, a rise in the tolls of the Attiki Odos ring road around Athens is crucial if it is to restructure a significant bank loan on more favorable terms.

Tolls for passenger cars were supposed to increase to 3 euros from 2.80 starting this July, with similar increases for other vehicle categories, such as trucks and motorbikes. A further hike was due at the beginning of 2020.

However, in what was widely seen as a late bid for votes, the previous SYRIZA government canceled the toll increases via a decision by former transport minister Christos Spirtzis.

Now the company expects what it calls a “goodwill gesture” from the new government – that is, to reverse Spirtzis’ decision.

The Infrastructure Ministry appears favorable to that, but they and Ellaktor will still have to negotiate to find an acceptable compromise between what would benefit the company and what is politically expedient.

Tolls are a hot-button issue with the public, and SYRIZA, in its previous incarnation as the main opposition party, had even called for a toll boycott.

Depending on how the issue is resolved, Ellaktor could borrow as much as 100 million euros from the banks.