By Angeliki Koutantou
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece aims to raise a total of 6 billion euros ($6.83 billion)from privatizations by 2018, the head of its privatizations agency (HRADF) said on Thursday, making up for a revenue shortfall last year and hoping to overperform its latest bailout target.
Privatizations have been a major part of Greece’s three international bailouts since 2010, but political resistance and red tape have hurt revenues. Athens has raised just 4.4 billion euros so far and has repeatedly revised targets downwards.
The country raised 500 million euros from asset sales last year, missing its bailout target by about 2 billion euros, mainly due to delays in completing the lease of 14 airports to a consortium led by Germany’s Fraport <FRAG.DE>.
The 1.2-billion-euro lease of regional airports was completed this year. Along with the sale of a 67 percent stake in Thessaloniki Port <OLTr.AT> and a first 345-million-euro tranche from the lease of the former Athens airport Hellenikon, the lease will help Athens raise 2 billion euros in total this year, HRADF’s chairwoman Lila Tsitsogiannopoulou said.
“Our aim is to have the financial closing of the transaction(for Hellenikon) in December 2017,” Tsitsogiannopoulou told reporters.
A consortium of Abu Dhabi and Chinese investors backed by conglomerate Fosun, led by Greece’s Lamda, signed a deal in 2014 to develop the Hellenikon coastal area.
The consortium will pay a total of 915 million euros ($1.03 billion) to lease the site, which is three times the size of Monaco, and the plan is to turn it into one of Europe’s biggest coastal resorts.
For next year, the agency aims to collect 3.5 billion euros, mainly from the sale of a 30 percent stake in the Athens International Airport (AIA), a 5 percent stake in its biggest telecoms operator OTE <OTEr.AT> and stakes in several energy and water utilities, Tsitogiannopoulou added.
Greece’s international lenders see a total proceed of 5 billion euros by 2018 from privatizations, according to the latest updated version of its bailout.
In its quarterly report, Greek think-tank IOBE said Hellenikon and other privatizations are expected to boost investments considerably next year.
(editing by Richard Balmforth)