ATHENS May 25 A top Greek court has blocked the
planned privatisation of the country's biggest water utility
Athens Water, the semi-official Athens News Agency
(ANA) reported on Sunday, on the grounds the sale could put
public health at risk.
The government planned to sell a substantial stake in Athens
Water (EYDAP) to private investors under the terms of Greece's
bailout by its foreign lenders, the European Union and the
International Monetary Fund.
But the Council of State, Greece's highest administrative
court, ruled the sale would be unconstitutional because it might
put public health at risk, ANA reported, with concerns water
quality could deteriorate under private control.
Court officials were not available for comment.
"We are awaiting to receive the ruling to assess its
possible impact on the privatisation," an official from
country's privatisation agency said on condition of anonymity.
The government holds a 61 percent stake in EYDAP, with a
further 27 percent floating on the Athens Stock Exchange,
where EYDAP has a value of 984 million euros ($1.3 billion).
A fund run by billionaire investor John Paulson revealed
earlier this month it was holding a 10 percent stake of the
($1 = 0.7336 Euros)
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Sophie Hares)