It comes as expected. Hardly they were sworn-in, ministers of Greece’s new coalition left-wing/nationalists government SYRIZA-Independent Greeks made a revolutionary step: they announced the halt of privatizations. Not that privatizations of state assets were been moving in the same speed the Troika has been demanding in the last five years. The previous governments had always been slow in fulfilling their signed commitments towards the country’s lenders. But as of last year, Nea Dimokratia-PASOK coalition had proceeded with the privatization of major ports and airports at prices far below the real value of the assets.
Piraeus Port Authority
Alternate minister for Marine Theodoros Dristas announced the cancellation of “Piraeus Port Authority” (OLP). “The public character of OLP will be maintained, the OLP sell-offs stops here,” he said on Tuesday. Under the bailout program, the majority of stakes of OLP are to be sold.
This move implies that the same will happen with the Port Authority of Thessaloniki.
Public Power Company
“We will halt immediately any privatization of PPC,” Productive Reconstruction Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis told private Mega TV Wednesday morning. ND-PASOK government had passed a legislation last year to privatize part of PPC as a mean to liberalize the Greek energy market.
Lafazanis spoke of a “new model for PPC” and stressed that “electricity and natural gas are very expensive in Greece and they do not help the citizens.” He also announced that the government will proceed immediately with the pre-elections promise for “free electricity for 300,000 households.”
The halt of privatization of infrastructure like airports was also announced by alternate Minister for Infrastructure Christos Spirtzis. “The government approach is to stop privatization of infrastructure that provide service and help growth in the country,” Spirtzis told Mega TV, adding that “priorities must be set in programs and public investment so that they will serve the productive reconstruction of the country .
According to economic news website Capital.gr, main infrastructure privatization plans approved by the previous government were:
Privatization of 14 regional airports that are supposed to be obtained by Fraport-Kopelouzos joint venture against 1.2 billion euro to be paid once, and payment of 22.9 million euro in the state revenues per year as renting fee.
6.2 thousand acres of the former Athens Airport (Hellinikon) to Lamda Development against 915 millio9n euro. Last year, a research conducted by the Technical Chamber of Commerce with Spoirtzis being the chairman, had claimed that the value of the former Athens airport was 222% higher than the price offered by Lamda Development.
Athens Stock Exchange plunges
Apparently the plans to halt privatizations scared traders to shares-death, and Athens Stock Exchange plunged -5.43% and 741 units in General Index at 12:23 p.m. an hour after the session opening.Ten minutes later, the plunge was -6.92% and the General Index at 729.33 units.
OLP shares were at €9.74 and losses -9.73, while PPC shares were at -16.44% at €4.32.
UPDATES Athens Stock Exchange
02:16 pm: ASE – 8.18%, General Index 719 units
02:28 pm: ASE – 8.45%, GI 717 units
02:36 pm: ASE -7.65% right after FinMin Varoufakis live statement. Among others he said “We agreed with EZ head Dijsselbloem to stop Far West scenarios,” and “there will be no uncertain”
3:43 pm ASE -8.50% at 716 units (no recovery today, it seems…. )
05:19 pm ASE session closed with losses -9.24% and General Index at 711.13 units
*** OUCH!!! ***
*** Earlier, I wrote: Right now I am not sure, whether PM Tsipras wants to break ex PM Samaras‘ record on 9. Dec 2014, when he announced as Presidential candidate somebody from Nea Dimokratia, signaling the snap elections were imminent.
9. Dec: ASE plunged t0 historic -13.04%, the biggest crash since 1987. Two days later, Samaras smashed the ASE for one more time when he spoke of Grexit on live TV stream.
11. Dec: ASE down -7.35% at 827 units.
One should note, that the Athens Stock Exchange has been recording losses since Monday, the first session after left-wing SYRIZA won the elections.
PS as we, Greeks, slowly get used to a left-wing government, the same should traders do 🙂