Greece finalizes deals on shipyards' sale submarines purchase

The Greek Cabinet Council of Foreign and Defense Affairs approved on Thursday a double deal to sell a majority stake of 75.1 percent at the Greek shipyards of Skaramangas near Athens to Abu Dhabi Mar (ADM) shipbuilding group and purchase 7 submarines from Germany built at Skaramangas.

According to the agreement, the state-controlled ADM will head the new consortium scheme at Skaramangas. The German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems which is already involved in the Greek shipyards will retain a 24.9 percent stake, while the Greek government reserves the right to veto the further transfer of shares and dismissal of Greek employees. The new owners had asked for the lay- offs of up to 350 workers in the first place.

Under the final deal, the Greek side will finally receive a submarine named "Papanikolis," which was constructed at Skaramangas, but leans, at a price of 300 million euros from Germany.

With a certification for safe navigation by German experts, Greece intends to resell it to a third country at a price that can reach 500 million euros. According to government sources, there is interest, but Athens does not rule the prospect "Papanikolis" will join the force of the Greek Fleet.

The Greek Navy will also get five new Type 214 submarines and one Type 209 which cost 500 million euros each. The deal on the submarine program between Athens and Berlin has an almost 10-year history, but there have been long delays and complications.

According to an earlier agreement, Greece would pay up to 200 million euros per year for nine years, but the German side, as Greek government sources stressed, asked for a higher amount of money in the near future.

"This solution protects jobs, protects the Greek industrial infrastructure and shipbuilding, protects the interests of the Greek Navy and the interests of the Greek state amid a severe financial problem in the best possible way," Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed. (1 euro = 1.3660 U.S. dollars)

[Source: Xinhua, Athens, 19mar10]

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