Greece launched a big fat sale of state assets in 2010, in return for bailout loans, promising the Troika of creditors it would raise €50bn in addition to subjecting the Greek people to miserable austerity. Now the sell off is in limbo.
George Papandreou and his PASOK cronies put Greek sovereign assets up for sale in order to placate Greece's creditors. There were some choice assets for other countries to buy up on the cheap, ranging from Greek islands, the Greek telephone company OTE, Greek train operator TrainOSE, the Port of Piraeus, and the right to exploit Greece's assets. There was even talk of the Acropolis coming under the hammer.
The New York Times reported that Greece's creditors will even have the right the seize the gold reserves in the Bank of Greece. The controversial privatisation scheme introduced foreign advisers to help with the sale of the family silver. Nevertheless, sales were not a great success due to the Greek habit of intolerable red tape which strangled prospective deals and its intractable labour laws.
Only a fraction of intended €50bn has thus far been raised. Now the program is in limbo, stalled as there is no effective government in place to sign off any paperwork.
The task of selling Greek assets was outsourced to Max Ziff, head of sovereign advisory at Houlihan Lokey. In Athens Costas Mitropoulos was in charge of the now suspended privatisation programme, according to the Telegraph.
The Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF), under Ziff's remit, has so far "taken ownership of a raft of motorway, airport, defence systems, ports and marinas, and water supply and sewerage systems" Ziff told Euro Money. Mitropoulos has by necessity stopped the sale of other state assets, including the gas network DEPA, a disused airport, and some islands.
If SYRIZA should come to power in the June 17 elections its leader, Alexis Tsipras, has promised to halt the privatisation programme.