By Christian Wienberg
(Bloomberg) — A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S wants to buy Greece’s two biggest ports after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras put them up for sale in his proposal of budget-enhancing measures submitted to creditors.
“We’re interested in the Greek ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki and are pursuing them as part of our growth plans,” Francois-Xavier Delenclos, a vice president at Maersk’s The Hague-based APM Terminals unit, said Friday in an e-mailed reply to questions.
Tsipras’s government had earlier this year put a sale of the ports on standby. In Thursday’s proposal, the government said it will “announce binding bid dates for Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports of no later than end-October 2015.”
APM Terminals, which operates in 58 countries, though not in Greece, has previously expressed interest in buying both.
“We remain interested in showing Greek leaders our expertise in the investment, planning, building, modernizing and operating of ports,” Delenclos said. “We have a lot of experience in all markets and believe a competitive port system is integral to Greece’s future success.”
Maersk Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen has money to spend on acquisitions after streamlining the 111 year- old company with divestments, including a stake in Danske Bank A/S, a supermarket chain and, most recently, an offshore safety unit. Andersen has said he will focus acquisitions on Copenhagen-based Maersk’s core areas relating to seaborne trade and oil.
Greece owns 74 percent of the shares in Piraeus Port Authority SA and in the Thessaloniki Port Authority SA, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
©2015 Bloomberg News