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Handelsblatt: Athens Airport Sale Spearheads Greece’s Privatization Drive

Photo Source: Athens International Airport

The sale of a 30 percent stake in Athens International Airport SA (AIA) by Greece’s asset development fund is setting the country’s privatization drive into motion, said German business daily Handelsblatt.

According to the report, Greece’s ambitious privatization plans are aiming to boost state coffers by 2.44 billion euros in 2020 with the AIA sale alone expected to generate 1 billion euros.

According to Handelsblatt, Greece’s privatization efforts remained stagnant over the years “marred by unkept promises and failures” aiming initially to generate – according to pledges in 2011 – 50 billion euros in a five-year period. Instead, the Dusseldorf-based paper reports, by 2015 only 3.2 billion euros had been collected.

Photo: GTP

Tedious red tape and legal issues exacerbated by investors avoiding crisis-era Greece are cited by Handelsblatt as the main reasons behind the failed attempts. The paper goes on to refer to the weak political will to move ahead with the privatization of public enterprises “that nurtured party patrons with lucrative positions”.

The report goes on to underline the importance of AIA’s sale, which has thus far attracted the interest of 10 investors, as well as of plans to sell off 10 state-owned ports, with those of Alexandroupolis, Kavala, Igoumenitsa, and Corfu up for immediate development, and highways, among others.

The paper concludes, that investor activity has picked up pace thanks in large part to a more stabilized economy which is restoring trust in Greece.

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