Greece to sell stake in Thessaloniki port operator to German-led consortium

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A German-led consortium is the highest bidder for a two-thirds stake in OLTH, operator of the northern Greek port of Thessaloniki, in a deal valued at €1.1bn, Greece’s privatisation agency HRADF said.

The disposal of Greece’s second-largest port, which is strategically located to serve the Balkan countries and the Black Sea region, was agreed under terms of the country’s current bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Infrastructure sales are a key part of an ambitious privatisation programme but have been delayed by opposition from hard-line members of the left-wing Syriza-led government.

Private-equity firm Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, France’s Terminal Link and Greece’s Belterra Investments, controlled by Russian-Greek businessman Ivan Savvides, offered €231.9m for 67 per cent of OLTH shares. The price represents a 70 per cent premium over the shares’ market value.

The consortium will also take over operation of Greece’s second-largest port for 34 years under a separate concession agreement, which is projected to bring more than €170m in additional revenues. It will invest €180m over seven years to upgrade the container terminal and other facilities, with another €500m of investments and dividend payments projected over the concession period, HRADF said.

The sale, which must be approved by state auditors, comes months after China’s COSCO shipping acquired a 51 per cent stake in OLP, the operator of Piraeus port, the country’s largest, for €280.5m.

The two other shortlisted bidders were International Container Terminal Services (ICTS) of the Philippines and DP World, the Dubai-based P&O Steam Navigation Company.

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