The largest Chinese investment in Greece so far is the 35-year concession agreement signed in 2008 between the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) and COSCO, one of the largest Chinese state-owned conglomerates. The agreement, which has been effective from October 1, 2009, involves the management of OLP’s Piers II and III.
COSCO is also among the five qualified bidders for the second phase of the tender process for the purchase of a 67 percent stake in OLP. The latter’s market value currently stands at 450 million euros, implying the state’s share is valued at 300 million.
Another Chinese conglomerate, Fosun Group, participated in the consortium led by Lamda Development, which was the sole bidder for the acquisition of 100 percent of Hellinikon (former Athens airport) in southern Athens. The financial offer stood at 915 million euros, while the consortium also committed to undertake an investment of 5.7 billion euros.
Fosun is also a strategic investor, controlling a minority stake of 13.85 percent in the to Greek retailer Folli-Follie Group.
Representatives from China’s Shenzhen Airport and Friedmann Pasific Asset Management, who met with the Greek Prime Minister last year, have expressed their interest in acquiring the 55 percent stake held by the Greek state in Athens International Airport (AIA). The launch of the tender process for the privatization of AIA is scheduled to take place within 2014.
The State Grid Corporation of China is reportedly interested in the privatization of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or ADMIE), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Power Corporation (PPC). The Chinese company is expected to participate in the second phase of the tender process, submitting a binding offer for the acquisition of a 66 percent stake in IPTO.
Reports also indicate that Chinese investors are interested in the new airport at Heraklion in Crete, the upgrade of the country’s railway network and investments in the real estate and tourism sectors.
The rebound of investments is key for Greece to achieve projected GDP growth of 0.6 percent in 2014 after six years of deep recession. Greece and the troika expect gross fixed capital formation to grow by 5.3 percent in 2014 and 11.7 percent in 2015 after it plumetted by almost 60 percent since 2008.