NEWS

No PPC sale on the cheap, says PM

Prime Minister George Papandreou warned investors that they should not expect to buy shares in Public Power Corporation, to be sold as part of the government?s 50-billion-euro privatization program, at ?bargain prices.?

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Papandreou also said that the government would not give up control of the power utility either.

The government is to submit legislation in Parliament on May 15 paving the way for the state to reduce its holdings in PPC from 51 percent to 34 percent as part of the privatization scheme it has agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

However, the sell-off has prompted the reaction of PPC?s powerful GENOP workers? union, which has begun a series of rolling strikes, and concern from some opposition politicians that because Greece is selling under pressure, it will not receive a good price for the 17 percent stake.

?We are not in a rush, we will not go into this willy-nilly,? he told MPs, even though his government has pledge to raise 50 billion euros from privatizations by 2015. Papandreou promised that the sale of the PPC shares would be ?transparent? as well as at a good price. ?There should not be and there will not be a bargain price,? he said.

Papandreou also tried to end the controversy over comments by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn about talks between him and the Greek premier in November 2009, months before Athens made an official request for emergency loans.

Responding to an accusation from Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras that he had ?fooled? the Greek people, Papandreou said he ?spoke with everyone to find the best solution so the country would not go bankrupt.?