06 December 2013 13:23

Cyprus yesterday agreed a two-year timetable for the privatisation of state-owned utilities in a bid to raise the €1.4 billion demanded by the Troika.
State-owned telecommunications firm Cyta will be the first to be sold off but will not go on sale for two years, government spokesman Christos Stylianides told reporters.
It will be followed by the electricity and ports authorities, under the plan approved by ministers.
The government was required to draw up the privatisation strategy as a condition for receiving the next 180 million euro tranche of a €10 billion debt bailout.
The aim is to raise one billion euros by mid-2016 and then an additional €400 million by 2018, which will go towards reducing the public debt.
The government spokesman said there was no single model for the privatisations and there were "flexible options" for each firm to be sold off.
"There first denationalisation will take place after two years as there will be systematic preparation and reform put in place," Stylianides said.
He said the utilities needed to undergo restructuring to make them attractive to foreign investors and fetch the highest possible prices, which was why the sell-offs would not go ahead before the end of 2015 when Cyprus is expected to exit recession.
He said the government would retain some sort of stake in the firms being privatised and measures would be taken to protect the rights of staff, who would also be given the option to buy shares.
The utilities earmarked for sale are major employers and there have already been protests by worried employees.
Staff fear job cuts on an island where unemployment is running at a record 17%.


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