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Cosco-OLP Deal Ratified Amid Blame-Game Over Changing Terms

Piraeus_OLP_1

The 300-member Greek parliament on Thursday ratified by a 223-vote the sale of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) to Chinese shipping giant Cosco a day after the Hong-Kong based conglomerate said in letter that the terms for the deal submitted to parliament had been altered.

Set to dish out some 368.5 million euros over the next decade towards the upgrade and management of OLP, Cosco said in letter on Wednesday that the terms of the deal — including a state obligation to approve project licensing in due time — submitted by the shipping ministry to parliament for approval were different to those previously agreed on with the Greek assets agency.

peiraia_coscoCosco said the changes were an “unpleasant surprise” which may have led to the alteration of the bid’s amount and future materialization.

“The content of the specific plan is a complete reverse of what was agreed between Cosco and TAIPED,” the letter said.

The Chinese giant was awarded the concession for a 51 percent of Piraeus for 280.5 million euros and the remaining 16 percent for 88 million five years on, and once it completes investments of 350 million euros over the next decade.

In the meantime, acknowledging the changes, Shipping Minister Theodoris Dritsas said the government had the right to make adjustments for the public’s welfare.

“There was no reason to generate this exaggerated reaction,” Mr Dritsas said, adding that “the government’s aim to ensure better regulation is not only in the interest of the public but also of the concessionaire; without legal loopholes that may in the future cause problems.”

“The content, the agenda, the prospects and opportunities, the strategic direction will be reflected in the PM’s trip…,” said Mr Dritsas, referring to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras᾽ official week-long visit to China which begins today.

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