ECONOMY

Hellenic Shipyards sold

Greece yesterday signed an agreement transferring Hellenic Shipyards to German consortium Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and Ferrostaal, ending one of the most contentious and protracted sell-offs of state-controlled companies. The German consortium paid a total of 47.1 million euros in cash for the Greek shipyard, ETBA Bank said yesterday. The bank holds a 51-percent stake in Hellenic Shipyards, also known as Skaramangas, while a cooperative of shipyard workers own the remaining 49 percent. Of the 47.1 million euros, 6.1 million euros are for ETBA Bank’s equity stake and the remainder 41 million euros for a capital increase at Hellenic Shipyards. The German consortium plans to implement a 44-million-euro, five-year investment program at the shipyard with immediate effect. The government did not provide details on the penalty clauses connected to Hellenic’s delayed delivery of train coaches to the Hellenic Railways Organization. There was also no information on the German consortium’s reported demands for guaranteed naval projects. Despite the successful outcome, the sale of Hellenic could still run into problems. Last week, rival shipyard Elefsina filed its objections with European competition authorities, claiming the sale violated competition rules and that the Greek government had favored the German bid and was also making illegal subsidies to Hellenic. It also nullified a previous agreement to cooperate with Hellenic on certain projects. The European Commission is currently looking into special pension and other benefit programs for Hellenic employees. Last month, it cleared the takeover by HDW/Ferrostaal. HDW was taken over by US private equity house One Equity Partners in March. Ferrostaal is a naval equipment company. «On the external wall of the chamber is a large relief, with a band of imitation marble facing on its base, surmounted by floral decoration.»