ECONOMY

EYATH stake set to go up for sale

The Greek government will launch a tender to sell a minority stake in the Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewage Company (EYATH) to a strategic investor as part of an effort to raise 1 billion euros in privatization revenue that will go toward trimming public debt. A joint ministerial privatization committee approved the sale of the minority stake in EYATH, in which the goverment holds 74 percent, via an international tender. «The committee decided to offer to a strategic investor 23.02 percent of shares held by the state,» the Economy and Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday. The Greek government intends to hold onto 51 percent of the company whose shares are listed on the Athens bourse. France’s Suez Environnement holds 5.01 percent of EYATH, which has a market capitalization of 258.4 million euros. Shares in EYATH, which have advanced 34 percent in the last three months, fell yesterday 2.60 percent to 7.12 euros, underperforming a 0.12 percent retreat on the broader market. Based on yesterday’s closing price, the government’s sale of the stake in EYATH will translate into revenue of some 59 million euros. Revenues from Greece’s privatization agenda, estimated by the economy ministry to reach about 1 billion euros this year, will go toward narrowing public debt, the second highest in the eurozone after Italy. The news follows comments from a senior Suez Environnement official last week, saying that the company is in close talks with Greek construction group Ellaktor concerning a possible joint bid for the stake but will wait to see the final terms of the sale. The Greek government said it intends to retain the right to determine EYATH’s rates policy. «The state will also control its facilities, infrastructure and the area’s water and sewage networks,» the ministry added. The privatization committee also decided yesterday to look into the possibility of finding a strategic investor for nickel producer Larco.