Greek Olympic Airlines transfer agreement signed
The signing of the agreement on the Greek Olympic Airlines (OA) transfer to the private Marfin Investment Group (MIG) was completed here on Monday, Xinhua reported.
According to the agreement, MIG will pay a total of 177.2 million euros (240.9 million U.S. dollars) for the acquisition of the OA Group's total assets and operations, including the share capital of flight operations, ground handling, and technical base.
The agreement is subject to ratification by the Greek Parliament, which is expected to take place in the next few weeks.
The "new Olympic" will be flying under MIG control as of Oct. 1.
"Olympic Airlines has been for years the big patient of our economy, creating huge debts of one million euros daily, burdening taxpayers and causing serious legal problems for our country," said Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said earlier on Monday that the period of decline of the airlines that had unbearable burdens for the Greek taxpayer and legal troubles in the European Union is finally closing, stressing that the Greek citizens will stop paying one million euros (1.36 million U.S. dollars) that Olympic Airlines costs on a daily basis.
The new company, Karamanlis said, is expected to contribute 150 million euros a year to public coffers and the new Olympic Airways will continue its activities with the same name and emblem.
Olympic Airlines was founded in the 1950s by Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and acquired by the state in 1975. For years, the Greek government subsidized the struggling national airline which has accumulated losses of around 2.7 billion euros ( 3.6 billion dollars).
Andreas Vgenopoulos, vice-chairman of MIG, said at the signing ceremony with satisfaction: "We did our duty, it was inconceivable that Olympic might cease to exist."
He promised to create a new airline company, healthy, very strong and developing to the benefit of MIG's shareholders, its workers, tourism and of the national economy in general. "We promise to do everything to make Greeks proud for a new Olympic," he said.
Marfin Investment Group is the largest Greek business group in the wider Southeast European region. It has more than 50,000 employees and associates and has a presence in over 40 countries.