Two Chinese companies, with a letter sent to the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, expressed their interest in jointly acquiring a 55% stake in Athens International Airport (AIA), Eleftherios Venizelos.
According to the letter, signed by the chairmen of Friedmann Pacific Asset Management Ltd and Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co Ltd, the two companies are also interested in the airport’s management. The Chinese chairmen stated that they intend to use their own funds in order to turn Greece’s main terminal into an international transit hub and an entry point for Chinese travelers to European countries.
It is estimated that a tender for the sale of AIA’s majority stake could draw the attention of other foreign investors as well. The 55% percent stake is owned by the Greek state, but the Canadian companies who control 26.7% of the airport, reserve the right to reject any changes in the operating company’s share capital and have expressed their interest in raising their stake in AIA.
The Greek government has launched a privatization program that is expected to generate revenues. However, so far privatization revenues are far less than those initially expected. According to the original terms of the bailout, Greece should have collected 22 billion euros. However, only 2.6 billion euros have been raised from asset sales since a European Union-IMF bailout began in 2010.