Skaramanga Workers Favor HDW/FS Bid

Thursday, August 09, 2001
Greece's Skaramanga shipyard workers are in favor of a Hoawaldtswerke Deutsche Werft-Ferrostaal (HDW/FS) offer to buy out 100 percent of the shipyard for 1.5 billion drachmas ($3.8 million), a shipyard executive said. George Kontakis, vice president of Skaramanga shipyards and representative of the 49 percent stake owned by its workers, said the union's approval was unanimous. "The union's board decided unanimously (in favor), as ETBA Bank did, and announced HDW/FS as the highest bidder for the sale of 100 percent of the shipyard," Kontakis said. Earlier this week ETBA Bank, which holds a 51 percent stake in Skaramanga shipyards, said Germany's HDW/FS was the highest bidder and that its senior management would start negotiations with the German joint venture for an improvement of its offer. He said HDW/FS is expected to proceed with a 3.0 billion drachma capital increase for the Greek shipyard to fund operating costs. Kontakis said besides the 1.5 billion drachmas paid for 100 percent of the shipyard, the German shipyard will assume Skaramanga's estimated losses of 11.5 billion drachmas this year and finance a three-year 8-10 billion drachma investment program. "HDW/FS' complete offer exceeds 40 billion drachmas ($104 million)," he said, adding that the German joint venture will also provide technical know-how. Staff will be reduced from 2,000 to 1,400 via a voluntary redundancy program. Based on an agreement with the Greek government, Skaramanga workers will get back from the state a sum of 1.5 billion drachmas which was their cash participation in the shipyard's last capital increase, Kontakis said. Negotiations between Greece and HDW/FS are expected to be completed in the next two months, the government has said. - (Reuters)

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