With international lenders pushing Greece to speed privatizations, there’s interest from one country at least: Turkey. Investors from Greece’s neighbor are looking to gobble up marinas and ports at bargain prices with Greece frantic to sell off entities and properties because of its crushing economic crisis.
A Turkish business group has called on local companies to buy in Greece. “The process has not yet begun,” Greek Privatization Board coordinator Panos Protohsaltis told the Anatolia news agency, referring to a recent Parliamentary decision that sees large privatizations as part of further austerity measures. “We will decide on the process within a few weeks. The government has made a decision that gives a green light (to sell-offs). This is an important step.”
He added that, “Turkish companies are interested in Greek ports,” without elaborating. “It is the right time for Turkish companies to invest in Greece,” said Selim Egeli, head of the Turkish-Greek Business Council within the body of Turkey’s Ministry of Development and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).
In May, Hellenic Duty Free, a joint venture between Turkey’s Setur Marinas and Greece-based Follie Group, won 40-year operation rights on Lesbos Island, a 1 1/2-hour boat trip away from Turkey’s tourism destination of Ayvalik on the Aegean coast. Another Turkish company has already said it is in the game. Global Yatirim Holding is interested in several Greek ports.
The company will enter tenders for all Greek ports excluding those in Athens and Thessalonica, according to board member Adnan Nas.The firm may fund buyouts using its own resources, Nas said, adding that Greece will privatize 23 ports. The company may consider a Greek partner in entering the tenders, he added.