ATHENS (AFP) – Multinational companies from Argentina, France and Germany are competing to buy 14 Greek airports put up for sale to boost Athens’ depleted cash reserves, its privatisation agency said on Friday.
Argentina’s Corporacion America, France’s Vinci and Germany’s Fraport have all placed fixed bids for the airports, which are being auctioned in two lots.
The Argentine company already runs 33 airport terminals in its home country, as well as in Ecuador, Peru, Armenia and Italy, according to its website.
The French group spent three billion euros ($2.4 billion) on 10 Portuguese airports in 2013, including Lisbon’s.
Fraport pipped Vinci to the post this summer in the battle to buy Slovenia’s main airport, which was also part of a privatisation drive to stabilise the country’s finances.
The Greek airports on offer include Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country, and those of tourist hotspots Corfu, Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini.
The privatisation effort has been a frequent source of tension between Greece and its international creditors from the EU and International Monetary Fund who bailed out the country to the tune of 240 billion euros in 2010.
The Greek government changed the management of the privatisation agency – the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund – for the fifth time in three years this summer.
It has already had to lower the target for privatisation revenues in 2014 from 3.5 billion euros to 1.5 billion euros.