World Bulletin / News Desk
Greece's privatisation agency Taiped on Thursday said it had accepted a 45-million- euro ($50-million) offer from Italian train company Ferrovie Dello Stato (FS) for Greek rail operator TrainOSE.
The Italians had tendered the only binding offer in a sale that was three years in the making, reflecting tepid interest by foreign investors in a key Greek state asset.
Earlier non-binding expressions of interest for TrainOSE -- including from France's national operator SNCF -- petered out three months ago, and there were no bids for the country's rail maintenance company Rosco.
"The privatisation of Trainose secures not only the viability of TrainOSE, but more importantly, its further development," Taiped said in a statement.
TrainOSE operates all passengers and freight services on lines owned by the national railway company, OSE. It was spun off from OSE in 2008.
Taiped described the sale as "an important milestone" for resolving a European Commission state aid dossier on debt owed by TrainOSE to OSE -- more than 700 million euros.
Noting that FS is the third largest railway company in Europe, Taiped indicated it would use its expertise and experience to integrate TrainOSE in the "pan-European rail map."
FS is itself scheduled for privatisation with the Italian finance ministry having indicated it will be listed later this year.
TrainOSE personnel have held a series of strikes in recent weeks to protest at the selloff.
Under the terms of its third EU bailout agreed with Brussels, the IMF and creditors last July Greece must dispose of 6.2 billion euros of state-owned assets by 2018. Greece raised 400 million euros from selloffs last year.Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2016, 17:34