“Every crisis is an opportunity,” Doğuş chief executive Husnu Akhan told the Milliyet daily on Tuesday as he detailed the group's 20 million euro deal to acquire marinas on Corfu Island, Lefkas Island and the Peloponnese. The group is currently awaiting final approval from the Greek tourism ministry, a month or two after which renovations are expected begin at some of the marinas, Akhan said.
The Greek marinas have a total capacity of 3,755 private boats, nearly 50 percent more than the company's current ability to accommodate in Turkey. The group also acquired three Croatian marinas in April of this year. “Every crisis opens up opportunities. This crisis isn't going to last forever,” Akhan said of the Greek economic crisis and European slowdown.
The Doğuş agreement comes as part of a larger Greek government selloff that was pushed last year by the troika of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The divestment program is being managed by the newly founded Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), which last July announced plans to raise 50 billion euros to help Greece recover from two rounds of bailouts that weighed in at 152 billion euros and 172 billion.
Some funding has already been secured, with two property deals penned by Turkish companies, but, so far, the sale has seen less than $2.6 billion in sales. Analysts say it may be a sign that potential buyers are waiting for the values to fall even further.
The plan currently aims to raise 19 billion euros by 2015 and includes major shares in the state-run Hellenic Petroleum, the national lottery, the new Athens airport and the site of the city's abandoned former international airport. The HRADF has estimated that real estate accounts for 55 percent of the assets to be sold, energy and transportation infrastructure 35 percent and government shares in major corporations such as Hellenic Telecommunications 10 percent.
As prices for state assets continue to drop, Akhan says he and other Turkish investors may continue to snap up Greek investments. “We're planning on looking into the services sector at the moment, and we're planning to make the marina into a social center for the city. That would mean yacht clubs, malls and hotels. We're examining the details,” Akhan said.