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Greece to review airport privatisation deal: Minister

AFP , Saturday 14 Feb 2015
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Greece intends to review a 1.2 billion euro ($1.36 billion) deal with Germany's Fraport to run 14 Greek airports, with a government minister saying Saturday the contract would be put on ice.

"The contract hasn't been ratified yet, and we have asked it be freezed in order to review its content," Alekos Flambouraris told Mega TV.

He said the accord with German airport operator Fraport, one of the country's biggest privatisation deals, would be reviewed to make sure it "best serves the public interest."

The airports, put up for lease in 2014 to boost Athens' depleted cash reserves, 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, who have insisted Athens implement unpopular money-saving measures in exchange for a 240 billion euros bailout.

The new radical left government, which swept to power at the end of January and is currently embroiled in negotiations over its bailout obligations, had promised voters it would halt the privatisations.

First on the list was the tender deal with Chinese shipping giant COSCO at Greece's biggest port Piraeus, which the government said it was freezing along with a deal at the smaller but still important Thessaloniki docks.

COSCO, through its Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) arm, manages the two main container terminals at the port -- one of Europe's busiest -- under a 35-year concession signed in 2008, and was one of the bidders for the 67-percent share in the port authority held by the Greek state.

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