(Piraeus, Greece) – According to Bloomberg.com, China’s purchase of a 67% majority share of the Port of Piraeus in Greece is luring other investors to the country. Piraeus is Greece’s largest port and this purchase will enable China to have a stronger presence concerning trade in the Mediterranean and beyond. The Hellenic Asset Development Fund has said that this deal is creating interest by investors in some of Greece’s other public assets.
The country is now reviewing bids for a 67% majority share at the port in Thessaloniki. There are several countries that are interested in this, including Dubai, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Russia, and Switzerland. Of those, it is said that Russia is the most interested party, but it is too early to tell who will actually win the bid.
Stergios Pitsiorlas, the Chairman for the Hellenic Asset Development Fund has said, “Greece is the number one choice in transport for China, which wants an opening to the west and sees Greece as the bridge. Transport is a competitive sector and the Chinese presence in Piraeus Port creates the need for others to have a presence in Greece.If we judge from this year, the fund and its program have been the basic element for the stance of creditors to become more positive.”
Privatization deals such as these are a requirement put forth by the international creditors for Greece’s third bailout deal since 2010. The country has been in a recession since at least a year before that. Currently, they have just received the first payment from the third bailout, which they will use to pay off some loans. They have said that the Greek government needs to increase revenue and decrease spending. Deals such as these are a big part of that. The Hellenic Asset Development Fund also intends to release a 5% stake Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA by the end of July. In 2017, Greece will also begin the privatization of several of Greece’s important marinas.