The privatization of the former Ellinikon International Airport of Athens, located seven kilometers south of Athens, is reaching its final stage.
The Board of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) is expected on Thursday, to approve the draft contract for the use of public land, in order for it to be delivered to interested parties. This whole process is estimated to take about a month. The investors will then be invited to submit their final and binding offers, something expected by late February.
Until lately, the contract was stuck in ministerial offices, as the TAIPED had sent copies of the text to the ministries for approval.
Interested investors at the same time, seem to be also finalizing their negotiations. Sources indicate that the three potential investors (Elbit, Lamda Development and London Regional Properties) are in discussions with several investment funds and/or banks, which will be responsible for funding the project.
Furthermore, according to market experts, the interested investors allegedly hold conversations with each other to find a solution of possible cooperation on the project. Something similar happened in the privatization for the Astir Palace compound in the northern part of Athens, where the Turkish Dogus, while initially participating with its own bid in the competition, finally decided to support the offer of Arab Jermyn.
As a result, the final offers may be fewer than the currently expected three bids. From a legal perspective this doesn’t create a problem for TAIPED, which doesn’t welcome the possibility of the three bids becoming one, both for competitive and political reasons.
Apart from interested investors, those who do not want the privatization of Ellinikon, seem to be mobilizing. On Tuesday, the three mayors of the Athenian municipalities neighboring the airport grounds, Alimos, Glyfada and Elliniko-Argiroupoli, stated their opposition to the plan, arguing that “the government and the TAIPED after consecutive extensions to the investors’ selection process, now try anything they can to complete the privatization of Ellinikon Airport as soon as possible.” The mayors say that the project is killing “the future of coming generations” and is putting “the fiscal goals of the government above the life quality of the residents of Athens, the protection of the environment and our dignity.” The mayors remain true supporters to the studies prepared by Greek universities, which are utilizing the Ellinikon premise for the creation of a Metropolitan Park.