COSCO ready with cash to invest in Piraeus

Cosco-managed Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) urges the Greek government to speed up the approval of the investment plan aimed at attracting more business to Greece’s largest port, informs Reuters.

The news agency quotes Captain Fu Chengqiu, PPA CEO, saying last Friday: “I am ready with cash and will wait until the end of this year. But if the delay is prolonged there are legal means, such as clauses in the concession agreement.”

As we wrote earlier, in August 2016, Cosco Shipping formally completed the deal to acquire the majority stake in PPA for EUR 368.5 mln (USD 402.3 mln). According to the concession contract, Cosco acquires the 67% stake in two stages: first 51%, with the option to acquire a further 16% within 5 years, once it completes mandatory investments of EUR 300 mln to upgrade the port’s infrastructure.

Under the concession, COSCO will run the port, which includes passenger ferry, car, container and cruise ship terminals along a 37 km coastline, until 2052.

Cosco unveiled its USD 620 mln master investment plan in January 2018. It includes a new cruise ship terminal, a mall and four hotels within the port’s area and is comprised of mandatory and voluntary investments, based on the concession agreement. The investor aims to develop the port into China’s main gateway to Europe, for trade as well as for tourists, taking advantage of the fast-growing Chinese cruise market.

The plan’s approval by the Greek state was due in June.

According to Angelos Karakostas, PPA Deputy CEO, the Port Authority has already contacted hotel investors and operators over plans to develop four hotels at the port.

“There is great interest, once master plan approval is granted, we can start pre-qualifications before the end of this year,” he said.

As per the master plan, two hotels will be converted from old warehouses at the port, one will be turned from an exhibition centre featuring a landmark pagoda-style roof into a luxury facility. And the fourth hotel will be built at a new terminal for new generation cruise ships.

Julia Louppova:
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