Greece: Juncker moots independent privatisation agency

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Leading eurozone policy-maker Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed that Greece create an independent agency to manage the privatisation of state assets to raise much-needed cash.

"I would welcome the creation by our Greek friends of a privatisation agency independent of the government, that will include foreign experts," Juncker told German weekly Der Spiegel in an interview due to appear Sunday.

Such an agency could be modeled on the German "Treuhandandstalt" agency that privatised East German companies after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he said.

Greece on Wednesday appointed a second round of foreign and domestic banks to advise on a multi-billion state asset sale demanded by its European creditors to help with its ongoing debt crisis.

Deutsche Bank and main the Greek lender the National Bank (NBG) were tipped to explore a stake sale in state gaming monopoly OPAP, one of Greece's few profitable public sector companies.

France's Credit Agricole and its local unit Emporiki will help offload racetrack operator ODIE while Credit Suisse and Eurobank will advise on the creation of a new company to run state lotteries, the ministry said.

The EU and IMF, which rescued Greece from bankruptcy last year, are putting pressure on the government to accelerate privatisation to raise 50 billion euros ($70 billion) before backing another possible bailout.

© 2011 AFP

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