Suppliers mull hospitals deal

In a bid to settle the Greek state’s long-running dispute with public hospital suppliers, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos yesterday offered them a take-it-or-leave-it offer that would involve the firms accepting a reduction of 10 to 20 percent on what they are owed. In a meeting with the suppliers, Loverdos said he could not pay them the 1.45 billion euros they are owed for equipment and medicines sold during the first nine months of this year. Instead, he offered them 1.15 billion euros. «I do not have the rest, nor will I be able to find it,» he said. The suppliers said they would consider the offer. A deal would be a major relief for Loverdos, allowing him to put an end to the dispute with the suppliers, who will also receive 5.2 billion euros’ worth of government bonds in January for sales between 2007 and 2009. The government has promised to pay hospital suppliers upon receipt from January.