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Hellenic Tourism Properties Heads For Bourse

Along with the privatization of its casinos, Hellenic Tourism Properties will privatize itself. The first step was taken last month with the sale of convertible privatization bonds, or pre-stock (prometoxa), worth 800 million euros (272.6 billion drachmas), which is about a 25% piece of the company.

Tassos Homenides, managing director of Hellenic Tourism Properties, said that within the space of a few hours more than 80 percent of the three-year paper, which carries a zero coupon and must be held for three years, was sold to institutional investors at home and abroad. What remained was sold to retail investors.

The issue date is August 3, 2001 and the expiry date August 3, 2004. The bonds carry an annual interest rate of around 4.8%. On maturity, the bonds can be exchanged for stock in state-owned Hellenic Tourism Properties or its subsidiaries, such as casinos.

A good part of the other 75% of Hellenic Tourism Properties, which is a subsidiary of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, will be floated on the Athens stock exchange early next year through an IPO (initial public offer).

In reference to the above privatization, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in a press conference that the new unwavering policy on the Greek tourism sector is designed to broaden development as well as alter the industry as we know it. He said that the new policy is aimed at restructuring the tourism industry and boosting the country’s economy, all of which in the long run will generate many jobs, in light to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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