CHINA's Cosco Group has expressed interest in purchasing most of the 67 per cent stake in the Greek Port of Piraeus (OLP) in competition with five others bidders in an exercise to conclude by the end of the year.
Five bids have come in from Ports America, Maersk unit APM Terminals, private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group, Manila's ICTS and investment company Utilico Emerging Markets Limited.
Cosco Pacific has upgraded two of the port's piers five years ago. It has since pledged another EUR230 million (US$313.8 million) for capacity expansion over seven years in return for exemption from fees paid to state-owned OLP port.
Piraeus has continued to grow volumes 15 per cent to 3.1 million TEU in 2013, increasing net profit 12 per cent to EUR8 million during this fiscal year.
The asset sale of the state-owned port adds to a trend of picking Chinese-backed bids following its latest development of a prime waterfront property at the former Athens airport Hellenikon, said Greece's privatisation agency.
The sale will contribute to Greece's EUR240 billion bail-out which has been made possible by foreign investment from China, Russia, US and the EU. Since the first EU/IMF bailout mid-2010, it has signed deals worth EUR4.9 billion but has raised only EUR2.7 million.
By privatisation of the country's railway operator TRAINOSE, rolling stock company ROSCO and some regional airports, among other assets, it aims to raise revenues of EUR1.5 billion. It has put up its second biggest port of Thessaloniki for sale with a deadline of June 5 for non-binding bids.
Source : HKSG.