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Olympic Airlines Privatization Finalized

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The Greek government finalized the privatization of Olympic Airlines on Monday. Marfin Investment Group agreed to pay €177.2m ($224.3 million) for Olympic in direct negotiations with the government, after the failure in January of an international tender to find a strategic investor.

Development Minister Costis Hadzidakis said the decision was made following three weeks of negotiations with MIG, a Greece-based investment holdings company. In picking MIG, the state advisers rejected a rival bid from Olympic's main domestic rival, Aegean Airlines, and U.S.-based Chrysler Aviation.

 

olympic-airlines.jpgThe European Commission has given the green light for MIG to acquire Olympic, ending years of disputes over illegal aid payments by successive Greek governments.

 

The Commission last year opened the way for the carrier’s privatization by approving the write-off of more than €2.6bn in accumulated debt and suspending court action over the repayment of €850m in state aid.

 

Andreas Vgenopoulos, vice-chairman of MIG, expressed his satisfaction over the signing of the agreement by saying: "We did our duty; it was inconceivable not to have an Olympic".

 

He expressed the company's commitment to create a new airline company, healthy, strong and in the benefit of MIG's shareholders, its workforce, the tourism sector and the national economy in general. "We promise to do everything to make Greeks proud for a new Olympic," he said.

 

Olympic was founded in 1957, and was nationalized in 1975.

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