[Updated] APM Poised For Greek Port Buy-Up

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras, credit www.kremlin.ru

Published Jul 12, 2015 8:28 PM by Reuters

APM Terminals, part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, said on Friday it is interested in buying into the Greek ports Piraeus and Thessaloniki, slated for privatization if a new bailout deal is agreed between Athens and the European Union.

"Yes, we are interested in the Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki and are pursuing them as part of our growth plans. Our interest has been consistent throughout the economic and political cycles of the country," Francois Delenclos, Vice President of Business Development at APM Terminals, said.

Privatization Plans

Meanwhile, the head of Greece's biggest port Piraeus will step down, a statement said last Wednesday, after the port was once more named as a target for privatization in the country's cash-for-reforms negotiations with international creditors.

Chief Executive Yiorgos Anomeritis has headed the port since 2009. In February, he had informed the new leftist-led government he would stay on until the company's annual shareholder meeting, on the weekend, to help the government in their first months in power.

Piraeus Port is majority state-owned and China's Cosco has been operating two of the port's cargo piers since 2008.

The sale of a majority stake in the port was part of Greece's privatization plan under its 240 billion euro bailout with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Tsipras' government halted the privatization after it came in power in January but relaunched it last month, as a concession to break a four-month impasse in negotiations.

Anomeritis had opposed the sale of a majority stake, saying that ports can be managed by different operators but should be majority-owned by the state.

Tsipras has until Wednesday

Euro zone ministers have given Greece until Wednesday this week to pass new laws as a condition for negotiations on a bailout Athens needs to avoid losing access to the common currency, Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said on Sunday.

Describing a joint proposal the Eurogroup of finance ministers have put to a summit of euro zone leaders which began on Sunday, Stubb told reporters: "It has far-reaching conditionality, on three counts: Number one, it needs to implement laws by July 15. Number two, tough conditions on for instance labor reforms and pensions and VAT and taxes.

"And then number three quite tough measures also on for instance privatization and privatization funds.

"And for us the most important thing is that... this whole package has to be approved by both the Greek government and the Greek parliament and then we'll have a look."