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Cosco, APM Terminals and ICTSI bidding for Piraeus port stake

Cosco, APM Terminals and ICTSI bidding for Piraeus port stake
Three of the world’s largest port operators have been asked by the Greek government to submit binding bids by September for a majority stake in the country's biggest port, Piraeus.

A senior privatisation official told Reuters on 14 May the Athens government has unblocked the asset sale in a major concession by the Alex Tsipras-led government. As of 14 May Prime Minister Tsipras was yet to make an official announcement while the chairman and md of the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) George Anomeritis would not comment when asked by Seatrade Global about the reported development.

Greece had shorlisted China's Cosco Group and four other groups for a 67% stake in the PPA last year but the sale was halted after Tsipras' leftist-led coalition government came to power in January.

Only three of the five initial bidders are still interested in the port. Cosco Pacific, which has a 35-year concession to operate two container terminals in the port and is the long-time privatisation front-runner, Denmark’s APM Terminals and Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) have been asked to submit new bids.

"It will be for 51% with an option to reach 67% in five years if they invest EUR300m," said the official. "We want to name the winner at the end of September or early October." Initially the target had been EUR500m for the 67% stake.

Sale of the state’s 67% holding in Greece’s second port Thessaloniki is also now expected to move forward, though these three bidders are less keen on the country’s northern gateway to central and eastern Europe.