ECONOMY

Green light for consultants

The Ministerial Committee for Privatizations yesterday approved the hiring of consultants who are to examine all possible options for the restructuring of the banking system in Greece. The committee also opened the way for the acceleration of all other privatizations and better utilization of the state’s real estate, with consultants to be commissioned this fall and several projects to be completed within 2011 so that the government can cash in on at least 1 billion euros. «We have given the green light for the hiring of consultants who will investigate all strategic options in the banking system,» Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said immediately after the committee’s meeting. Economy Minister Louka Katseli added that, among other things, the consultants will examine the «strategy of a possible strengthening of the state’s position in the banking system, with all the existing alternative scenarios.» The consultants, who could be appointed as early as next week, will offer a valuation on all state banks (ATEbank, Hellenic Postbank, the Deposits and Loans Fund and Bank of Attica) as well as the state’s stakes in other banks. There was no decision yesterday as to the profile of the consultants, but Papaconstantinou made it clear that they will be major international banks.