Courts stops Hellenic Shipyards transfer to private operators 

Courts stops Hellenic Shipyards transfer to private operators 


Greece’s highest administrative court has put the brakes on an investment plan for the country’s largest port, Piraeus, and the transfer of ownership of the country’s largest shipyard, Hellenic Shipyards, into private hands.

The investment plan for Piraeus port was a key part of the 2016 concession agreement between Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) and China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO). 

In a March 14 ruling, judges at the Council of State (CoS) found that previous approvals of the so-called master plan for Piraeus had overlooked the absence of an environmental impact report for the different facets of the investment, as required by European Commission and national regulations.

Among other interventions and additions, the investment plan foresees the expansion of the existing passenger port and the creation of a new one, a bigger import terminal for vehicles, more storage space, hotels, a parking facility and more.

Under the 2016 privatisation deal, COSCO bought 51% stake in PPA for €280million ($313.6million) and committed to mandatory investments worth about €294million over five years to buy an additional 16% stake. In October, the stock transfer of the 16% was completed by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF).

The completion of the transaction followed the amendment of the 2016 Concession Agreement between the Greek State and the PPA and its ratification by Parliament. 

For the 16% extra stake in the PPA, COSCO paid HRADF €88million, plus accrued interest of €11.87million, as well as putting up a letter of guarantee of €29million.

On March 10, the CoS discussed the transfer of Hellenic Shipyards to shipowner George Procopiou-backed Milina Enterprises Co Ltd, following a petition by a municipality, in northwestern Athens. In December, a section of CoS had accepted the municipality’s injunction and suspended the transfer.

The municipality protest, which was addressed against the Public Properties Company and Hellenic Shipyards, relates to the free use of joint spaces in the area – particularly the coastal area that is a public environmental asset – and the related auction of the yards. A decision is pending.  

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