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Thessaloniki Port sell-off in the final stretch

Thessaloniki Port sell-off in the final stretch

ATHENS: Many authorities in Thessaloniki got fired up by the prime minister’s promise to give the city’s residents part of the port, as they wanted to claim all of Dock I, but it appears that the new OLTH – after privatization – will retain control of five out of the 14 buildings on the dock.

Many authorities in Thessaloniki got fired up by the prime minister’s promise to give the city’s residents part of the port, as they wanted to claim all of Dock I, but it appears that the new OLTH – after privatization – will retain control of five out of the 14 buildings on the dock.

The Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) privatization project is set to suffer a fresh, albeit small delay, but it is now in the home stretch.

It appears that the February 14 deadline for the submission of bids will be extended by about 20 days. Sources say that the concession contract’s second review phase was completed before Christmas, but state privatization fund TAIPED has not completed the incorporation of the comments received in the final draft. This is expected to happen by the end of this month for interested parties to receive the final draft of the contract.

After the submission of that text to the data room for candidate buyers, there will be a period of about one month for the submission of their binding offers. Therefore, the deadline will be put back to end-February or early March.

A crucial point is that this last review phase appears to have smoothed the edges of the contract that potential investors had opposed: The first concerned the OLTH assets that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to give to the people of Thessaloniki, and the second was related to the minimum level of container handling.

The first issue fired up many local authorities, who wanted to claim all of the port’s Dock I, but it appears that the new OLTH – after privatization – will retain control of five out of the 14 buildings on the dock.

As regards the minimum amount of containers handled, the target set now for the end of the first five-year period is not very different to today’s (ie 350,000 containers per annum).

Investors believe that it is not feasible to set much higher targets, as TAIPED and the government had desired, during a period of high investments by the preferred bidder and developing the port’s infrastructure.

Kathimerini understands that investors remain particularly interested in OLTH, as out of the eight authorized participants in the bidding process, there are at least five who remain active. They are Mitsui, Dubai Ports, ICTS, Deutsche Invest and GEK Terna.