Greece gets three binding bids for airport leases
ATHENS Oct 10 (Reuters) - Greece has received three binding bids from foreign and Greek firms to lease 14 of the country's 39 regional airports under the country's asset sales plan, its privatisation agency HRADF said on Friday.
Privatisations have been a key part of Greece's 240 billion euro ($303 billion) EU/IMF bailout but the country's debt crisis along with regulatory and legal hurdles have deterred investors.
HRADF said that Germany's Fraport jointly with Slentel Ltd, Argentina's holding company Corporation America with Greek industrial group Mytilineos and France's Vinci with Greek construction group Ellaktor bid for the airports.
All three were part of seven groups that were short-listed last year to operate and upgrade airport terminals at some of Greece's most popular tourist islands, such as Rhodes, Corfu, Mykonos and Santorini.
The deadline for bidding for the airports, which handled about 19.2 million tourists last year, expired at 1600 GMT on Friday.
The privatization agency said it would pick the winner by the end of November.
HRADF officials have said that would-be investors were expected to spend between 250 and 300 million euros (126 million US dollar) to upgrade the airports.
Greece's economy is seen growing by 0.6 percent this year after six years of recession, driven by a rebound in tourism.
Greece has signed privatisation deals worth 5 billion euros since it was bailed out four years ago, raising about 3 billion in cash. The sum is far below an original target of 22 billion euros for 2010-2013.
(1 US dollar = 0.7910 euro) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by Susan Thomas)
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