Having agreed new terms with its international lenders, Greece has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) stipulating that binding bid dates for the privatisation of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki must be announced by October, according to Reuters.
Signing the MOU is a prerequisite for Greece to gain access to a new and third bailout programme of around €85bn (US$85bn).
It means that the government has agreed to ‘fast-track’ the sale of state-owned assets, which includes two of its largest ports, as well as airports and its power grid operator; proceeds from the sales are expected to reach €6.4bn (US$6.4bn) by 2017.
In May, the Greek government invited China’s Cosco Group, APM Terminals and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) to present their bids for a 51% stake in the Piraeus port. These are expected in September.
There is an option for the successful company to increase its stake up to 67% if it invests €300m (US$300m) in the port over a period of five years.
The previous government, led by Antonis Samaras, had shortlisted five companies, including Cosco, for a 67% stake in Piraeus port, but the sale was scrapped by the newly elected leftist government led by Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras.