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COSCO declared preferred investor for Greek Piraeus port privatization

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-18 08:55

COSCO declared preferred investor for Greek Piraeus port privatization

Greece's largest port, Piraeus, near Athens. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - The Greek privatization fund announced on Wednesday that China's COSCO was formally declared the preferred investor for the privatization of Greece's largest port, Piraeus.

The board of directors of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) declared COSCO acquired 67 percent of the shares of Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) in accordance with the terms of the tender process, the HRADF said in a statement.

On Jan 20, HRADF accepted COSCO's binding offer of 368.5 million euros ($410.6 million) for the controlling stake in PPA.

After Wednesday's decision, the tender dossier will be submitted directly to the Court of Audit for pre-contractual control and the share sale contract will be signed after the approval of the court, while the completion of the transaction is subject to the competent authorities' approvals, HRADF's statement concluded.

The process should be completed by May, according to HRADF sources.

A few hours earlier, Greece's highest administrative court, the Council of State, had dismissed the appeal of various opponents to the privatization of the port authorities of Piraeus as well as Thessaloniki (OLTH) in northern Greece.

Under the terms of the tender, COSCO has committed to invest 350 million euros over the next decade in infrastructure works at the port.

Studies by Greece's Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) and other Greek and foreign experts showed that the COSCO's development plan for the port will bring additional long-term revenues of 5.1 billion euros per year to the Greek economy and add some 125,000 jobs until the new concession agreement expires in 2052.

"It is a win-win situation despite what skeptics says," said Ioannis Tzoannos, an economics professor and former general secretary of the Greek shipping ministry, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He expects that the further investment of COSCO in the port will generate more investments to the Greek economy and will be for the benefit of both sides.

Since 2009, COSCO's subsidiary Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) has been operating Piers II and III at Piraeus under a 35-year concession agreement posting remarkable results, while PPA now runs Pier I.

COSCO's vision to turn Piraeus into a leading international transit hub for products and services from Asia to Europe has already attracted other major multinationals to the port which are cooperating with PCT to distribute their products in the region.

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