China’s port operator Cosco Group (Hong Kong) Limited has signed today an agreement with the TAIPED (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) for the transfer of a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority, local media reported.
Cosco Group submitted a binding offer for the stake offering a price of EUR 22 per share, ie EUR 368.5 million (USD 402.3 million) for the 67% stake in January, which the fund approved in February.
Cosco’s initial offer for the Greek port was initially rejected as the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund informed the company that it needed to improve its proposal.
The signing ceremony was presided over by the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who said that the agreement will cut the Silk Road shorter, adding that the deal is expected to boost similar investments into the country which is fighting to recover economically.
The tender process for the sale of 67% of the shares of the Piraeus Port Authority was launched in March 2014, but the stake has since been downsized to 51 percent. The selected winner has the option to purchase additional 16 percent stake over five years, however the company has to invest around EUR 350 million in port development.
The privatization of Piraeus Port is one of key conditions of the country’s bailout plan with the EU lenders.
Greek dockworkers unions are not happy with the privatization and launched a strike on Friday protesting against the sale of one of the country’s biggest ports. The dockworerks took to the streets of Athens, leaving container terminals shut as a result of the strike, Reuters reported.