The red carpet was rolled out in Greece over the weekend as one of the nation’s most important foreign investors touched down to seal a huge port deal while promising further maritime investment in the Mediterranean country.
Xu Lirong, chairman of China Cosco Shipping, came to Athens on Friday to officially sign for the takeover of Pireaus port. China Cosco is paying EUR280.5m to take the port private with an initial 51% stake. The company will pay another EUR88m within five years to increase its stake by a further 16%.
Xu met with Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday.
“I hope that this deal is just the beginning for many more investments to come to Greece,” Pavlopoulos told Xu
“Our goal is to help Piraeus Port become the largest container hub in Europe,” Xu said, adding: “I believe that we will promote not only the trade between China and Greece, but through Greece will boost China’s commercial activity to other countries in the region.”
Xu also hinted at plans to invest in local Greek yards.