New alliances and new potential investors are appearing in the tenders of privatisations agency HRADF for three regional ports that are for sale or being offered for concession.
Offers for the sale of the port organizations of Alexandroupolis (OLA) and Igoumenitsa (OLIG) as well as for the 40-year concession of the cargo pier of the port of Kavala will be submitted on October 2. For this reason, in the last few days, talks are picking up between investors who want to claim part of the three ports, as well as the next ones (Heraklion and Volos), which are expected to be sold or leased at the beginning of next year.
For the port of Igoumenitsa, sources say that the Grimaldi group - which controls Minoan Lines - will be one of the bidders, up against the Attica Group. Both groups battle it out on ferry routes and believe that this port will strengthen their arsenal. The tender predicts that the investor who will acquire at least 67 percent of OLIG will take over the management of the port of Igoumenitsa and the shelters of Sagiada and Plataria as well as the Sivota shelter of tourist boats.
The contract for the concession of the specific facilities expires on February 3, 2062. In the last few weeks it has been speculated that the German group Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS) is also interested in Igoumenitsa. The Germans are already one of the strongest groups in Northern Europe and across the Atlantic, handling more than 7.6 million passengers and 2.1 million vehicles a year.
For Alexandroupolis and Kavala, there has been a lot of talk about the interest from American interests, however, big names from the USA are not expected to participate. One of the groups that was formed, with the participation of a partner who claimed to be a representative of an American group, is being wound up. Last month, the name of ONEX, was heard once again as Panos Xenocostas has the support of the American ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt. Both the Alexandroupolis and Kavala are ports show minimal activity and have very limited revenues in order to be targeted by large groups.
For some, Volos is more attractive as it has a connection with the train, or Heraklion, which is located on the most touristic island of the country. Some are investing in the future development of northern ports. The ports of Kavala and Alexandroupolis, along with Thessaloniki, are included in the wider development plan of the Egnatia railway. The plan, however, for the interconnection of the three ports with three Bulgarian ports is also progressing very slowly.
Tenders for the first three regional ports will be held in two stages. In the first one, potential investors will be invited to express interest and those who meet the criteria will be invited to submit binding financial offers at a later stage.