OPINION

Olympic puzzle

I have read with great surprise the latest reports that indicated that the Hellenic Republic has expressed its intention of terminating the last privatization effort for the sale of Olympic Airlines SA and declare the tender offer of October 22, 2003 unsuccessful for lack of interest by a buyer with the capacity to close. This is especially surprising because there is a least one group, Olympic Investors LLC, with capacity to close [the deal], that has for some time been prepared to move quickly to negotiate a definitive purchase agreement and to quickly consummate the acquisition of Olympic Airlines SA, pursuant to an offer made during this existing tender process. It has been up to the government to «pull the trigger» and enter final negotiations. While, despite repeated requests for detailed cost and revenue information, Mr [Constantinos] Stavropoulos, general secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, and the management of the company have been unable to provide the due diligence data that has been requested, that is hardly a reason to declare the process unsuccessful. Starting a new process does nothing but increase the likelihood of the demise of Olympic Airlines. And, the demise of Olympic Airlines would cause irreversible damage to Greece and this government. COSTAS ALEXAKIS, via e-mail.