Privatization fund to hire financial adviser for sale of stakes in Athens, Thessaloniki water utilities
Greece’s privatization fund (HRADF) on Wednesday announced its intent to hire a financial adviser for the sale of its stakes in the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Co. (EYDAP S.A.) and a similar state-run utility in the greater Thessaloniki area, known as EYATh.
The planned sell-off of the fund’s shares in Greece’s two biggest water and sewage utilities is expected to generate more “soul-searching” on the part of the leftist-rightist government coalition and sharp opposition criticism. Ruling SYRIZA, when it was in the opposition, was ferociously against any full or partial privatizations of state companies or assets, especially water utilities.
The Greek state retains 34.03 percent of EYDAP’s shares and controls its management. A large bloc of EYDAP shares were floated on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) in the late 1990s.
HRADF owns 27.3 percent of EYDAP’s shares, with 9.9 percent held by US billionaire investor John Paulson and the remaining shares traded on the ASE.
Conversely, the fund holds a 74-percent stake in EYATh, with multinational SUEZ environnement holding 5 percent. Remaining shares are also traded on the Athens bourse.
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