September 12, 2007 4:40 pm

Olympic Airlines: Olympic Investors still interested, expects quick sale after elections

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Olympic Investors, the Greek-American consortium, is still interested in the sale of Greek state-owned carrier Olympic Airlines, said a source familiar with the matter. ”OI remains interested because it is the only vetted entity approved via a tender process.” He noted that the tender process stopped because of EU penalties, but he was confident these issues could be resolved. ”It is understood that the government of Greece will move to a quick privatisation of OA after the (16 September) elections,” he said. He noted reports that the ruling party New Democracy is tipped by pollsters to return, but with a reduced majority. ”So it will be smart to move quickly - soon after the elections- on the sale,” he said.

An insider from the government said that the prime minister Kostas Karamanlis has said that his government wants to move forward with the sale of Olympic soon. The insider said that issues with EU related to OA debts had made the situation complex, but that there is interest in the airline. Another insider said that whilst OA could be on the list it was not expected that any privatisations would happen immediately after the elections.

An earlier report said that Qatar Airways and Greek shipping magnates are among recent bidders circling.

OI was previously backed by York Capital, earlier reports noted.

The EU previously ruled that up to EUR 700m in fines and unlawful state subsidies was owed by OA, and this has proved the main hurdle in any sale, an earlier report said.

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