Russian Railways 'Could Buy Thessalonki Port'
Russia's state-owned railway company has shown interest in acquiring the shares of the Port of Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city.
"From a strategic point of view, Thessaloniki's port is of bigger interest for us," Vladimir Yakunin, Director of Russian Railways, was quoted as saying by the Greek daily Ethnos while he was taking part in a business conference in Kazakhstan.
Yakunin's words come hours reports by Russia's ITAR-TASS that that the state company and its partners are abandoning plans for the privatization of Piraeus, another key port in Greece.
The Russian Railways' Director noted regarding Thessaloniki Port that his company would work closely with Greek counterparts on that matter.
Greece owns 74% of the shares of Thessaloniki and Piraeus ports. Athens was however forced to embark on a privatization procedure for key facilities across the country as part of the bailout deal it struck with the IMF, the EU and the ECB.
Yakunin, on the other hand, is in the US (but not in the EU)'s list of sanctions against Russian officials that was updated in end-April over the prolonged conflict in Ukraine and fears that Russia was inciting the unrest. His company has previously hinted at its interest in the debt-ridden Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ)'s freight unit and presently is reported to be eyeing Greek train operator Trainose.
Thessaloniki's port one of the largest in Greece, but also in the Aegean Sea basin and is considered to be an important hub as it leads into the Balkan Peninsula hinterland.
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