Greece ‘will rapidly sell’ ports for new aid

Greece will move rapidly to privatise its ports, regional airports and its power grid operator under a memorandum of understanding agreed with its international lenders.

According to the 29-page memorandum, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, Greek privatisation proceeds, excluding bank shares, are expected to total €6.4bn between 2015 and 2017.

The memorandum lists a range of measures that the Greek government must implement to obtain a new three-year bailout programme that is expected to total roughly €85bn.

Under the agreement, Athens has committed to take “irreversible steps” by October 2015 to privatise grid operator ADMIE unless an alternative scheme offering equivalent results is presented. Binding bid dates for Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports must be announced by the end of October.

Greek authorities have also committed to the sale of the country’s regional airports “at the current terms” with the winning bidder already selected, according to the memorandum.

At the end of last year, Germany’s Fraport was named preferred bidder in a deal to operate 14 regional airports in Greece, but the transaction has stalled since the left-wing government of Alexis Tsipras took power in January.

Meanwhile, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said yesterday that the bailout deal clinched with international lenders would end economic uncertainty in the country, though he said some were trying to obstruct a deal.

“Despite the obstacles that some are trying to put into our path, I’m optimistic we will get to an agreement, loan support from the European mechanism, which will put a final end to economic uncertainty,” Tsipras said during a visit to the Greek infrastructure ministry in Athens.

It was the leftist leader’s first comments after lenders and Greece reached a deal on Tuesday over a new bailout accord. He did not specify who was attempting to scupper the accord.

Tsipras said his government would spearhead a fight against tax evasion and corruption, saying that was partly responsible for the crisis the country found itself in.

In Germany, Angela Merkel’s government said a bridge loan for Greece remains an option if a full aid programme isn’t agreed in time for a payment to the ECB next week.

European governments need time to assess the preliminary accord between Greece, its international creditors and the European Stability Mechanism before possible approval of a proposed aid package, ministry spokesman Juerg Weissgerber said yesterday.

“Bridge financing is not off the table. We’re still taking bridge financing into consideration if it’s not possible to pay out a first tranche in August to meet the outstanding obligations,” Mr Weissgerber told a news conference in Berlin.

Reuters and Bloomberg


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