By David Robinson
The new Leftist Greek government’s plans to halt the privatisation of state-owned assets raises big questions over the Nereid Project, launched in 2013, to privatise 46 marinas and tourists ports.
In an initial move highlighting the emphasis that Greece places on maritime assets, the privatisation of the state’s 67% stake in the port of Piraeus to the Chinese Cosco shipping group and four other potential bidders is now on hold. The privatisation programme was agreed as part of the country’s international bailout deal.
A call to the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), which is overseeing the privatisation plan, drew no comment but documentation issued by the Fund confirmed that two clusters involving six marinas are so far being processed to be privatised.
An SB marina sector contact close to the privatisations indicated that the investment plans for the six marinas are expected in the coming weeks. He also indicated that the HRADF had not yet received any direction regarding the marinas currently being privatised.
The first cluster of marina privatisations was launched in July 2013 and involved facilities at Alimos, New Epidaurus, Hydra and Poros. In response to the request for Expressions of Interest, 11 domestic and international entities applied. These included Azimut-Benetti, the Dogus Group in association with Lamda Development, Porto Carras SA, the Archirodon Group NV in association with the A! Yacht Trade Consortium SA and Stirixis Techniki SA, and Cosmos Yachting Hellas Maritime SA in association with Aktor Concessions SA and Vega Real Estate & Tourist Enterprise SA.
The second cluster involving the marinas at Chios and Pylos was launched in November 2013. Six companies responded to this EOI invitation. The Archirodon Group was one, as was Majestic Marine Engineering LLC, which also participated in the first cluster initiative. Setur Servis Turistik AS, the leading Turkish marina operator, also responded. Others included Kasos Mortgage Tourist & Commercial SA and Porto Carras SA.
The plan to privatise the marinas and tourist ports was not only related to raising money to pay back the bailout advance; it was also seen as an action that would bring into the market private or public businesses that would develop the assets and also upgrade the tourist facilities on offer. Where this programme will go now we wait to see.