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Greek state-owned assets: for sale, one careful owner?

Max Ziff, Houlihan Lokey

Max Ziff, Houlihan Lokey

Max Ziff must have one of the more daunting jobs in Europe. As managing director and head of sovereign advisory at Houlihan Lokey he has been charged with kick-starting Greece’s faltering privatization programme.

At the start of the year, Houlihan Lokey, together with Greek partner Axia Ventures, was hired as exclusive strategic adviser to the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF), which was set up in July to manage the sell-off of Greek state assets. Having originally targeted cumulative asset sales of €5 billion by the end of 2011, €15 billion by the end of 2012 and €50 billion by the end of 2015, HRADF has so far raised €1.8 billion. The target for sales this year has been slashed to €9.3 billion, and Kostas Mitropoulos, chief executive of the HRADF, has been widely reported in Greek media as telling finance minister Evangelos Venizelos that even this will be difficult.

It is not surprising that HRADF has therefore called in the cavalry. "This is the biggest privatization of its kind and it is being done in the context of a sovereign in distress," Ziff tells Euromoney from Athens.

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