NEWS

Olympic deadline is now February 15

The deadline for the privatization of Olympic Airways was further extended yesterday at the request of the only bidder, the Australian-led Integrated Airline Solutions consortium (IAS). Yesterday’s deadline was an extension from that of January 31. Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), in its capacity as advisor to the government, said that on January 30, IAS «requested an extension of 15 days in order to fulfill its previous undertakings, citing the potential addition of new investors to its consortium and procedural delays in complying with the Hellenic Republic’s financing requirements.» It said that as of January 31, the consortium had not complied with these requirements. CSFB said it was instructed by the government «to inform IAS that any additional information, to be provided by no later than February 15, 2002, will be evaluated.» The government said that it was obliged to provide the bidder with the opportunity to fulfill the requirements for the bid. «This is not about seeing a piece of paper with an offer,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said. «We have to ask for guarantees as well. We have to assure credibility, economic effectiveness of the proposal, and the investments. All this creates the need to ask for clarifications, for documents to be submitted, for the necessary guarantees,» he said. «We are obliged to exhaust all possibilities for a certain solution,» Protopappas said. «I don’t think we should be trapped by narrow time limitations. We’re talking about days here.» Meanwhile, Cyprus Airways, which had pulled out of the bidding for Olympic last year, said yesterday that it was interested in expanding into the Greek market and working in cooperation with other companies on Greece’s domestic routes, the airline’s chairman, Haris Loizides said.