Investors have shown an interest in the privatisation of Limassol port, Communications and Works Minister Marios Demetriades said on Wednesday.
Demetriades and the financial advisors appointed by the government held a meeting on Tuesday, kick-starting the process for the privatisation of the island`s main commercial hub, Demetriades told the Cyprus News Agency that the meeting focused on a draft assessment of market conditions and the evaluation of Limassol Port`s competitiveness, physical and operational conditions.
“The market assessment shows very good signs and there is interest,” Demetriades said, adding that the government had already been sounded out by prospective investors.
Sources told CNA that ICTS, a Philippines firm specialising in acquisition and management of container terminals globally, was among the investors expressing interest in Limassol port.
Demetriades said that the government had appointed Rothchild as their financial advisors and the legal firms Kypros Chrysostomides and Co and Holman Fenwick and Willan to prepare the tender.
As part of Cyprus` €10 billion bailout, the government will implement a privatisation plan aiming to secure €1 billion by 2016 with the sale of Limassol port and Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and an additional €400 million by 2018 with the proceeds to be used to reduce public debt. Cyprus Electricity Authority is scheduled to be privatised by 2018.
The advisers will prepare the final method of the Limassol port privatisation to be discussed with Cyprus` lenders and the EU competition services, while the appropriate regulatory framework for the Cyprus Port Authority, which will remain a state-owned organisation with a supervisory role, will be established by the end of the year.
“We are well within the deadlines, we appointed a reputable group of advisers with international expertise and we are optimistic about securing investors for the port,” Demetriades told CNA.
A privitasation plan approved by the Council of Ministers notes that the most suitable privatisation method for Limassol port is long-term leasing with a port operator after an international tender by December 2015, while the CPA will remain a public organisation with a supervisory role. (CNA)