Grimaldi-led JV takes majority stake in the Igoumenitsa Port Authority in €84M deal
The joint venture established by the companies Grimaldi Euromed S.p.A., Minoan Lines S.A., and Investment Construction Commercial And Industrial S.A. (EKEV SA) signed an agreement with the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), which manages the privatization of Greek ports, for the purchase of a majority stake of the Igoumenitsa Port Authority (IPA S.A.).
Italian major Grimaldi revealed that the JV will assume 67% of the share capital of the port for a total price of EUR 84.17 million.
The signature of the share purchase agreement comes after the approval of the Court of Auditors, while the ratification of the concession agreement between the Greek State and IPA S.A. by the Greek Parliament is imminent, Grimaldi said.
“I hope that today’s agreement will contribute to the full realization of the potential and competitive position of the Port of Igoumenitsa, for the benefit of the local community and the Greek economy as a whole,” Greek Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras, said.
“With this investment, not only do we achieve a significant financial return, but it is also expected that the port of Igoumenitsa will be established as an international port”.
“For the port of Igoumenitsa, an era of investment, development and upgrading begins today. This course leads to the strengthening of the economic footprint of the port, new jobs, increase of commercial and passenger traffic and finally to multiple benefits for the economy and society of the city of Igoumenitsa and the wider region,” Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Ioannis Plakiotakis, said.
The CEO of HRADF, Dimitris Politis, believes that the development of the port with the participation of an international investment scheme with extensive experience in the operation and management of port terminals will contribute to the stimulation of the economic activity in the wider region and to the establishment of Igoumenitsa as a key transport and communication hub with Southern and Central Europe.
HRADF promised to assist the new main shareholder of IPA S.A. in the development of the port.
“Our investments will facilitate the growth of the port and, at the same time, the development of key European trade routes, of which Igoumenitsa represents the main gateway,” the President and Managing Director of Grimaldi Euromed S.p.A., Emanuele Grimaldi, pointed out.
“Meanwhile, we will confirm our usual commitment to providing frequent and efficient liner services dedicated to the transport of freight and passengers between Igoumenitsa and Italy’s Adriatic coast, which are essential for traffic between Greece, Italy, Turkey and the entire Balkan peninsula. Overall, the upgrade of services in Igoumenitsa will result in more tourism, more trade flows, more local businesses, more jobs“.
The joint venture between Grimaldi Euromed and Greece’s Minoan Lines and Investment Construction Commercial and Industrial was selected as the preferred bidder for the port back in October 2022.
The agreement forms part of a wider privatization program covering ports and other public assets of the Greek government which is estimated to have raised over EUR 7 billion from privatizations over the past ten years.
Some of the Greek ports that have been privatized over the past decade include Piraeus Port and Thessaloniki Port.
In 2016, China’s COSCO Shipping acquired a majority stake of 51% in the Piraeus Port Authority, the company that manages the Port of Piraeus, for a total price of €280.5 million. The company acquired an additional 16 pct stake in 2021.
In 2018, a consortium comprising Deutsche Invest Equity Partners, Terminal Link SAS and Belterra Investments Ltd acquired a 67% stake in the Thessaloniki Port Authority for €231.9 million.
In 2019, a consortium comprising the companies J&P AVAX S.A., Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, and Copelouzos Group were selected as the preferred bidder to acquire a 67% stake in the Alexandroupoli Port Authority for €231.9 million.
However, in November last year, Greece called off the privatization and decided it should remain a state-owned asset. The Greek government believes that Alexandroupolis port should stay under public control due to its strategic, geopolitical, and energy significance for the country. Namely, plans for a floating gas storage and regasification unit at the port are underway to address the energy crisis in Europe caused by decreasing Russian gas supplies due to the invasion of Ukraine and the imposed sanctions on Russia.