In search of privatization revenues

Although the new stability program drawn up by the government provides for revenues of 1 billion euros in privatizations, it remains unclear where this is going to come from. The Economy and Finance Ministry admits that the climate on global markets is particularly bad for plans toward new privatizations to proceed, in a year that public debt is also set to soar. A theoretically easy case is that of OTE telecom, as the deal between the state and Deutsche Telekom allows for the Greek side to concede 5 percent of its stake to the Germans at a prearranged price of 27.50 euros per share. This price is far higher than that of OTE shares currently on the Athens Stock Exchange. Therefore, if the state decided today to sell 5 percent of OTE, it would cash in on about 674 million euros. The government is also likely to use the sale-and-lease-back tool toward utilizing state properties that at present are not being made use of or do not return their greatest potential revenues. The privatization agenda further includes conceding several ports and airports to private investors, while the listing of Athens International Airport and the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) on the local bourse appears unlikely under the existing conditions. Other companies on the potential privatizations list are the Public Power Corp, Hellenic Postbank, ATEbank, EYDAP and EYATH, the two water and sewage companies of Athens and Thessaloniki, respectively.