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Full privatization of water companies in Athens & Thessaloniki cancelled

The full privatization of water companies EYDAP in Athens and EYATH in Thessaloniki has been cancelled. Only a percentage of stakes will be sold to private investors, while the majority will remain to the state; it has already returned to the state from the Greek Privatization Fund HARDF.

The procedure to sell minority stakes in Greece’s two water utilities, EYDAP and EYATH, to private investors will have started by August this year, Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas said on Friday, speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a dinner organized by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Industries.

“The majority of the EYDAP, EYATH shares have been returned to the state and it is planned to remain with the state,” he said.

However minority stakes in both companies -11 pct in EYDAP and about 24 pct in EYATH – will remain in the portfolio of Greece’s privatization agency (HRADF) and be sold off to private investors, as agreed with Greece’s creditors.

Pitsiorlas expressed optimism that although the percentages are small, there will be sufficient investor interest since both companies are profitable and yielding dividends to shareholders.

Asked when the sale of the shares must be completed, he said it will not be over in August, when Greece’s bailout program expires, but the procedure will be underway. “The aim is to exit the memorandum and supervision in August, because if we don’t, we cannot change the policy mixture implemented in Greece,” he said. 

The full privatization of EYDAP and EYATH was fixed in the third bailout agreement of 2015, signed between the Greek government and the European creditors. Left-wing SYRIZA was against the privatization of water which considers to be “public good” that needs to belong to the state and be sold at low prices for the citizens.

How will the Greek government justify this decision towards the European Stability Mechanism, the EU Commission and the other kids of the creditors’ block? We will know at the end of the fourth review of the fiscal adjustment program the latest.

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