The third time seems to have been the charm for Greece and its privatisation agency in their efforts to sell off TrainOSE, the state-owned rail operator that has been on the block three times since 2013. The l atest attempt was re-launched last January .
TrainOSE's Italian counterpart, Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane, has emerged as the sole interested buyer after submitting a binding offer, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) said in a statement.
Next steps in the privatisation process are “imminent”, according to the statement, but a spokesperson for the agency would not comment beyond the official press release.
Russian Railways and Greek construction company GEK Terna, which had also expressed an interest in acquiring 100 percent of TrainOSE, did not submit binding bids.
Established in 2005 as a subsidiary of OSE, the state-owned company which owns the rolling stock, TrainOSE became a standalone company in 2008.
Greece is also trying to privatise Rosco, a newly established company which maintains the rolling stock, but the privatisation agency said that no binding bids were submitted. HRADF's board of directors will convene soon to discuss the next steps, according to the statement.
The Greek state is under pressure to advance its privatisation programme, not only to shore up its public finances but also to meet requirements set out by its creditors.
Last April, Greece finalised the sale of a 67 percent stake in the Port of Piraeus to China's container terminal operator Cosco, for €368.5 million. However, the total value of the agreement amounts to €1.5 billion, as it includes mandatory investments of €350 million over the next decade and an additional €410 million in revenues resulting from the concession agreement.
Cosco has been operating and managing two container terminals at the Port since 2009, when it was awarded a 35-year concession.
Last December, Greece completed another privatisation , awarding a €1.234 billion contract to Frankfurt-based Fraport for the lease and operation of 14 regional airports.