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Tue 29 Mar 2016 10:21 AM

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Greece looks to conclude $1.2bn Abu Dhabi-backed property deal by autumn

Greece signed a deal to lease the property to a consortium led by Lamda Development with Chinese and Abu Dhabi-based firms

Greece looks to conclude $1.2bn Abu Dhabi-backed property deal by autumn
(Getty Images)

Greece can conclude a $1.2 billion deal to lease a prime seaside property at the former airport site of Hellenikon by autumn, the country’s finance minister has said.

In 2014, Greece signed a 915-million-euro ($1.2bn) deal to lease the property to a consortium led by Lamda Development with Chinese and Abu Dhabi-based firms.

But several steps are still required before the transaction is completed, including the approval of a zone planning scheme for the site and the granting of casino licences.

Greece's privatisation fund is in talks with the investors to amend some terms of the deal and has said that it wants to wrap up those negotiations by the end of April.

"I believe... it will be concluded by autumn," Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told parliament without providing further details. "I believe this target is close enough and we can achieve it."

The Lamda-led consortium plans to turn the 444-acre plot into a tourist, business and commercial hub.

Privatisation has been a part of Greece's international bailouts since 2010 but has generated poor revenue so far due to political resistance and bureaucracy.

Uncertainty over pension, tax and other reforms Greece must implement to conclude a bailout review - a prerequisite to start talks on debt relief and the disbursement of vital bailout loans - have also weighed on investor sentiment.

Greece expects to collect an initial 345-million-euro instalment for the Hellenikon lease project this year, according to the state budget.

Raising funds through privatisations is a major part of Greece's bailout agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Athens aims to reach cumulative proceeds of €9.6 billion by the end of 2016.

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