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Greece plans Athens airport listing in 2024

Greece plans to list the Athens International Airport, the country’s biggest, on its stock exchange next year, Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said on Tuesday.

The airport’s shareholders have given the go ahead for the sale of a 30% stake currently owned by privatisation agency HRADF, which had been originally aimed for the first half of the year, a senior official from the agency has told Reuters.

The shareholders have signed a memorandum of understanding, opening the way for Germany-based manager AviAlliance to acquire a further 10% stake, with HRADF’s remaining 20% to be sold through an initial public offering (IPO) for listing on the Athens Stock Exchange,

“The listing will take place from the beginning of next year,” Hatzidakis told a news conference on Tuesday.

After coming out from a decade-long financial crisis and three international bailouts worth about 260 billion euros in 2018, Greece has divested stakes in ports and energy companies to help boost competition and cut down debt, still the euro zone’s highest.

The nation has also fixed its finances and its economy has outpaced European peers since. This month, it regained an investment grade credit rating after 13 years, though not from one of the three major ratings agencies.

“We stick to achieving our fiscal targets…regaining an investment grade by the remaining rating agencies, and cutting down public debt further”, Hatzidakis said.

Athens is set to achieve a primary budget surplus of 0.7% of its gross domestic product (GDP) this year, a goal set in its 2023 budget, he said, while announcing a series of measures to crack down on a shadow economy.

Despite progress in tax collection, Greek central banker Yannis Stournaras has said tax evasion was still a serious problem.

The government also planned to legislate the mandatory use of digital payments instead of cash for property purchases.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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