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Qatar Weighs Bid for Ex-Athens Airport Site, Greek Minister Says

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Qatar has expressed interest in developing the Hellenikon site at the former Athens airport one month after the Gulf state didn’t proceed to the second phase of bidding for a majority stake in the project.

“That is the impression we have as the government, that Qatar is moving in that direction,” Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis told reporters in Athens today, responding to a question on whether Qatar was interested in the project again.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is pushing to attract investment to help the economy, which is set to contract for a sixth straight year, return to growth as he battles unemployment, which reached 27 percent in November. Greece is aiming to raise 2.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) from privatizing assets this year, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund said Oct. 31.

Diar Real Estate Investment Co., a unit of Qatar Investment Authority, didn’t proceed to the next phase of a tender for the Hellenikon project in January. Lamda Development SA, Elbit Cochin Ltd. and London & Regional Properties have until July to submit technical offers, the fund said Jan. 16.

Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said last month that his country is ready to invest 1 billion euros in Greece.

Hellenikon will develop the site of the former Athens International Airport, which at 6.2 million square meters is more than three times the size of Monaco, according to the fund.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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