ECONOMY

Tourism sell-offs nearing end

The coming period will prove critical for the State’s sell-off of tourist assets. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the tenders relating to the privatization of the casino on Mount Parnitha and the marinas at Alimos, Flisvos and Zea should be completed in June. The candidates are due to submit binding bids today. In the first stage of the marinas’ privatization process, 14 consortia were preselected for the marina at Alimos, 11 for the facility at Zea and 12 for the marina at Flisvos. Sources said some of the consortia are expected to merge in order to strengthen their bids while others will withdraw from the contest as they will not be able to meet the terms of the second stage of the tender. Thus it would not be unreasonable to see only half of the preselected candidates proceeding to the second phase. The costs of modernizing the marinas are quite hefty. For example, restructuring the marina at Alimos in time for the 2004 Olympic Games would come to 10.6 million euros. The marina at Zea would cost 9.7 million euros and the one at Flisvos 8.1 million euros. Hellenic Tourist Properties (ETA), the asset management arm of the Greek National Tourism Organization, is expected to hold a 25-percent stake in each of the three companies that are due to be set up to manage the marinas. The successful candidate will have a 40-year lease of the marinas, with the possibility of extending it for another five years. The successful bid is due to be announced on June 20. The privatization of the casino is expected to conclude this Friday. Two consortia have submitted bids – the Hyatt Hotel, which already operates a casino in Thessaloniki, and the Loutraki casino, which has teamed up with Piraeus Bank. The two groups are due to submit their financial offers on Friday. Today is also the deadline for the declaration of interest in the acquisition of a stake in Agrotouristiki, a subsidiary of ETA which is involved in promoting agrotourism. ECB staff go through strict assessment procedures every year, but no one is wary of this.