ATHENS, Aug 5 (Reuters) – China COSCO Shipping, which owns the world’s fourth largest container fleet in terms of capacity, is expected to wrap up the purchase of a majority stake in Greece’s largest port, Piraeus Port (OLP), next week, sources close to the matter said on Friday.
Under a deal signed in April between COSCO and Greece’s privatisation agency (HRADF), COSCO will buy 51 percent of Piraeus for 280.5 million euros ($312.5 million).
COSCO will acquire a further 16 percent stake for 88 million after five years, and once it completes mandatory investments of 300 million euros.
The transfer of the 51 percent stake to COSCO through the Athens Stock Exchange will likely take place on Wednesday, an official close to the process told Reuters.
Another official said that once COSCO acquired the 51 percent stake, a new board at Piraeus Port would be formed.
Greece’s parliament approved the sale in June, overcoming some last minute snags which triggered complaints from the local COSCO representative that parts of the deal submitted to the legislature reneged on the initial deal.
COSCO said last month it would invest up to 500 million euros in Piraeus Port to upgrade cruise and shipping container operations.
It has been operating one of Piraeus’s container terminals since 2009 and has boosted the port’s competitiveness since then. The port’s throughput stood at 3.36 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers last year, up from 880,000 TEUs in 2010.
($1 = 0.8972 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter)
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