ECONOMY

Three bids for Olympic security

The greatest procurement tender for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games involves, unsurprisingly, security systems. At present, three consortiums are bidding for what is a 200-million-euro business. The three consortiums, which held talks yesterday with Athens 2004, the Games’ organizers, and officials from the Defense and Public Order ministries, are expected to submit non-binding bids in the next few days. A US-French consortium, Raytheon Thales Systems, is leading the first group of bidders. Also taking part in the group are three Greek information technology companies – Delta Singular, Space Hellas and Info-Quest – and US firm Motorola, which will develop the TETRA communications system (a much improved version of its earlier technology walkie-talkies, suitable for small and medium independent networks). The second group is led by the USA’s Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Germany’s EADS, which, like Motorola in the first group, is offering its own wireless high-security network, and Greece’s Altec and Pouliadis & Associates. The composition of the third group is not precisely known: US company Titan is the leader, while sources say that Finland’s mobile telecommunications company Nokia, as well as Greek firms, are taking part. As we have written in the past, US company Lockheed Martin will not take part in the bidding. The group had pressured the Greek government to both undertake and operate the entire project, without any involvement on the part of Greek authorities. Sources within the government and Athens 2004 said that they rejected this option. «We chose to have greater input from Greek firms and a transfer of know-how to both Greek companies and local security forces,» one of the sources said. Ministry of Defense officials say they are hopeful the bid winner will emerge by the end of the year because the timetable is very tight. The top bidder will develop several security systems, most of which will be passed on to the Greek police after the Games. «On a monthly basis, inflation could reach 4 percent but even then you still get to 35 percent at the end of the year (for annual CPI),» said Debbie Orgill at ABN Amro in London.