Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in early July are expected to sign the agreement for the ownership transfer of Greece’s national passenger and freight train operator Trainose to Italian state railway group Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) Italiane.
Ferrovie was named preferred bidder in summer 2016, while the Italian company signed a purchase agreement for 100 percent of Trainose last January, pending approval by the European Union.
“During the first days of July we will sign the agreement, according to which Ferrovie will acquire the Greek railways,” Gentiloni said while speaking at the Senate in Rome.
The Italian company has announced investments of 500 million euros on Trainose’s infrastructure in order to upgrade its ticketing and information services.
EC approves state aid to Trainose
Meanwhile, the European Commission concluded that Greek measures to support the restructuring of Trainose and national rail infrastructure manager OSE, are in line with EU state aid rules. According to European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy, the aid will facilitate the privatization of the companies and the opening of the Greek railway sector to competition.
Concerning Trainose, the Commission concluded that the measures in its favor – in particular a debt cancellation, an equity increase and annual grants – worth a total of 1.079 million euros, are also in line with EU state aid rules.
The Commission took into particular account the difficulties the Greek railway sector is facing and the importance of a well-functioning railway service for the population.