Athens, July 14, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Zacharias Petrou
The Hellenic Asset Development Fund announced Thursday that it has accepted a 45 million euro binding bid by the Italian Railways for Greece’s TRAINOSE railway company amid protests by striking rail workers who oppose the deal.
Board of Directors unsealed the binding financial offer for the sale of a 100% stake in TRAINOSE SA, submitted by Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.p.A, the only company to participate in the international competition.
The process to privatize TRAINOSE – the only passenger and freight rail operator in Greece – which concluded on Thursday began almost three years ago.
Besides the fact that the proceeds from the sale will bolster Greek State coffers, the privatization also means that Cosco will now have a new “interlocutor” when it comes to moving cargo from the Ikonio port. The privatization will also please Greece’s international creditors as it will be wiped off the privatizations program agreed in the latest bailout deal.
Moreover, without the sale, TRAINOSE would have had to return more than 700 million euros in state aid to the European Union, forcing it to shut.
According to the Greek Fund, “the privatization of TRAINOSE secures not only the viability of TRAINOSE, but more importantly, its further development. Furthermore, this is an important milestone that lays the foundations for the successful closure of the European Commission state aid dossier on the debt that TRAINOSE owes to OSE, which amounts to more than 700 million euro”.
The tender envelope will promptly be forwarded to the Court of Auditors for pre-contractual review and assessment and a Share Purchase Agreement will be signed, following approval by the Court of Auditors. The completion of the transaction is subject to the competent authorities’ approvals.
Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane S.p.A. is the third largest railway company in Europe and is expected to transfuse its expertise and experience to TRAINOSE, integrating the Greek company in the pan-European rail map. The Italian operator is a government-owned holding company that manages infrastructure and services on the Italian rail network.
It is noted that recently the Italian Railways signed an MoU for cooperation with the Russian Railways which reserve the right to table a binding for the acquisition of the Thessaloniki Port Authority.