The Chinese shipping company COSCO on Friday entered a deal with the Greek government to take over a 67 percent stake in Athens's main port of Piraeus, Greek state broadcaster ERT reported.
"The Silk Road will become shorter," the broadcaster quoted Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who signed the contract alongside COSCO CEO Xu Lirong. According to Greece's asset development fund, TAIPED, the Chinese company will pay the cash-strapped country 368.5 million euros, and also promises to invest another 350 million euros in the port.
The sale, which has been long in the making and had been cancelled as part of an overhaul of austerity-driven reforms last year, is another step toward the privatization of key state assets. However, according to Greek media, the country's goal of raising 50 billion euros through the sale of state interests is still a long way off. So far, only a maximum of 3 billion euros has entered state coffers in this way.