China’s Cosco Group and five other potential suitors have expressed an interest in a majority stake in the Port of Piraeus (OLP), the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) has confirmed.
In a statement released on Monday, the HRADF said that, along with Cosco, Ports America, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), APM Terminals, private equity firm Cartesian Capital Group and Utilico Emerging Markets Limited had all submitted bids for a 67 percent stake in OLP.
Interest from Cosco in Greece’s port provides another example of how Chinese companies are looking to invest in Greece as the state tries balance its €240 billion bailout agreement through the privatisation of its assets.
Last year, Chinese operator COSCO Pacific, a subsidiary of the Cosco Group, agreed a multi-million euro expansion of its container business at (OLP).
Cosco, who took over managerial responsibilities at the port in 2008, will spend a total of €230 million to increase the cargo handling capacity as part of the agreement over the next seven years.
Greece launched the second round of its €50 billion privatisation program in October 2012 – the largest since World War II. As part of the proposals the Port of Piraeus and the nation’s second largest port in Thessaloniki were put up for grabs along with a number of other regional ports.
Binding offers for the majority stake in OLP are expected at the end of the year.