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Three bids received for Thessaloniki Port

The Greek government is looking to sell a 67% stake in one of the country’s largest ports, continuing its privatisation programme.

Efforts by the Greek government to sell one of its largest seaports moved forward this weekend, as three investors submitted binding bids for a 67 percent stake in the Thessaloniki Port Authority.

Manila-based International Container Terminal Services; P&O Steam Navigation Company, owned by Dubai-based DP World; and a consortium of Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, Cyprus-based Belterra Investments and CMA CGM subsidiary Terminal Link all submitted bids, Greece’s privatisation agency announced Saturday. The Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund, as the agency is called, said evaluation of the bids “will begin immediately”.

Looking to meet the terms of its latest bailout agreement with the EU and the IMF, the government called for bids for the port’s privatisation in April 2014, with investors bidding for the right to manage and operate the facility until 2051. The preferred bidder will also be required to invest at least €180 million in improvements over the first seven years of the agreement.

The privatisation process was slowed after the leftist Syriza party, which opposed asset sales, won national elections in January 2015. But while the sale has proven controversial, with port workers striking last year in protest, opposition has failed to halt the privatisation.

Located in Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki Port is one of the major seaports in both the country and the wider region. Last year a majority stake in Greece’s largest port, the Port of Piraeus near Athens, was sold to Chinese container terminal operator Cosco.