ECONOMY

Hellenic Shipyards sale gets OK

The Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) has agreed to sell 100 percent of Hellenic Shipyards to Germany’s Hoawaldtswerke Deutsche Werft-Ferrostaal (HDW/FS) for more than $4 million, a shipyard executive said yesterday. We have arrived at an agreement and tomorrow morning we will sign the preliminary agreement with HDW/FS, George Kontakis, vice president of Hellenic Shipyards at Skaramangas and a representative of the 49 percent stake owned by its workers, told Reuters yesterday. The price is improved (from the original bid), Kontakis said without giving further details. HDW/FS was recently the highest bidder for Hellenic Shipyards with a bid of 1.5 billion drachmas ($4.02 million) in a Development Ministry tender. Negotiations on the sale of Hellenic Shipyards were extended by one week in an attempt to arrive at an improved offer from HDW/FS. The Development Ministry would like to see the losing bidder, Elefsis Industrial Enterprises, joining HDW/FS in managing the enterprise. However, the Germans have rejected the idea and Elefsis Industrial Enterprises, owned by the Tavoularis group, which also owns Neorion Shipyards, has threatened to seek recourse with the European Union over what it terms irregularities in the bidding process. Both bidders had said they would reduce Hellenic Shipyards’ workforce to about 1,000 from the current 1,400. ETBA bank holds a 51 percent stake in Hellenic Shipyards. ETBA outperformed on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, gaining 1.21 percent to 5.02 euros after the news. The sale of (Hellenic Shipyards) helped eliminate an element of uncertainty concerning the bank. The positive end to the sale of ETBA, however, has already been discounted, said an analyst. Greece is seeking a buyer for all or part of its 65 percent stake in ETBA as part of the country’s structural reform plans. ETBA has performed well recently on hopes that a positive end to the sale is in sight.