Valuable Greek assets for sale – but are they worth 50 billion?

(Washington Post) — Part of Greece’s most recent bailout calls for the country to privatize a swath of its assets to pay off a portion of its loans.

Greece needs to raise 50 billion euros  through the sale of public assets, and international financial analysts don’t expect that sum to add up anytime soon. Public assets might not be worth what they once were, since there is so much risk in foreign investment in Greece in recent years. It is by no means certain that the assets held by the privatisation fund are worth 50 billion in today’s market —  as for example the sale of 14 of Greece’s regional international airports will bring in just 1.2 billion euro and the only offer for Hellinikon – the old Athens airport – promoted as the most valuable real estate asset in Europe, was just 915 million euro.

“This isn’t the sort of opportunity where you say, ‘Look it’s at the bottom of the market right now and you can buy it and be on the upswing,'” said Thomas Wright, the director of Brookings Institution’s Project on International Order and Strategy. “I think it will a big ask for investors to come in and make these purchases.”

But if investors are so inclined, here are 10 of the more interesting public assets up for grabs. You can see the rest at the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, an agency set up by the Greek government to auction off properties.

Other assets include properties in Plaka, Athens, the Greek railways, and ports, airports and marinas.

Unfortunately, prices aren’t listed.

1. Thermal Springs

Yes, apparently Greece has thermal hot springs. There are four of them, and the development company plays them up as a strong investment in “wellness tourism.”

2. Athens International Airport

Greece is holding on to 25 percent of shares in the airport, which was opened in 2001, but the development fund is selling off 30 percent of shares. The rest are held by private corporations and several families. No word yet if you get to cut the lines in Europe’s 31st most-popular air hub if you buy in.

3. Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company 

The company has the exclusive water utility rights to Greater Attica, a large eastern portion of Greek mainland, which includes Athens. The development company will sell 61 percent of shares, and the company is also listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

4. Boutique Hotels

This category speaks to the breadth of industries in which the Greek government played an active role. There are 15 boutique hotels nationwide to invest in, that the Greek government began building in the 1960s to boost tourism. Now, they’re being auctioned off and they are beautiful.

5. Hellenic Petroleum

Hellenic Petroleum is responsible for about two-thirds of Greece’s refinery capacity and exports to Cyprus, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria. A bit more than 35 percent of the company is up for auction and it’s also listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

6. Hellenic Post

Hermes is shaking his head as he looks down from Olympus. This is the Greek post office and 90 percent of it is for sale. It operates 750 outlets around the nation and soon it will be privatized.

7. Peace and Friendship Stadium

Opened in 1985 and renovated in 2004, the stadium plays host to Greek basketball team Olympiacos and has held performances by the likes of Phil Collins and Gloria Estefan. It’s five kilometers (or 3.1 miles) from Piraeus, Athens’s main port, and is accessible via public transit. The development fund wants to sell the stadium and the development rights to the area around it as a packaged deal.

8. Public Power Corporation

Back to the utilities. The power company has 7.5 million subscribers in Greece, which has a population of 11 million. It uses power primarily from gas and oil plants and also uses some hydroelectric power. The development fund is selling 17 percent of its shares.

9. Egnatia Odos Motorway

More than a third of Greeks use this highway that crosses east to west in northern Greece. It also transports a third of the country’s gross domestic product and connects with Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey. It’s  670 kilometers (416 miles) of scenic Greek byway.

10. Olympic Assets

We’ll finish this list off with something fun: three 2004 Olympic venues up for sale. The Schinia Rowing Center, Markopoulo Equestrian Centre and Galatsi Olympic Center all in Athens are for sale in a packaged deal. They hosted the most obscure Olympic sports like rowing, various equestrian activities, table tennis and rhythmic gymnastics.