Silk Road play: Cosco said only bidder for stake in Greek port
It appears that China’s Cosco Group was the only bidder for a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority, the operator of the Greece’s biggest port, the privatization agency said Tuesday.
The Piraeus port is a gateway to Asia, eastern Europe and north Africa, and considered one of the last stops on Beijing’s One Road, One Belt economic trade route to connect China with trading partners in Asia and Europe. In 2014, the Greek port handled 16.8 million passengers and 3.6 million 20-foot equivalent units of containers.
The final bids for a 51% stake in Piraeus Port were submitted on Dec. 21. The prospective buyers were not made public although there was speculation that Cosco was the sole bidder.
Greece has said that Cosco, Denmark’s container terminal operator APM Terminals and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services were all interested in the sale. And with Cosco the only one, some say the privatization agency will ask the bidder to raise its offer.
The sale of a 51% stake in Piraeus could fetch about $179 million, based on the company’s market value on Tuesday, reported Reuters. If the buyer makes a 300-million euro investment in the port over the next five years, it would be given the opportunity to acquire an additional 16% stake.
The port privatization was halted last year after the election of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, but in the process was resumed under the 86 billion-euro bailout deal Greece agreed to with its euro zone partners in August.
Privatizations, a key element of Greece’s bailouts since 2010, have produced revenue of only 3.5 billion Euros so far.