May 25, 2014 / 8:27 PM / 5 years ago

Greek top court blocks Athens Water privatisation - report

ATHENS, May 25 (Reuters) - 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 company.

$1 = 0.7336 Euros Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Sophie Hares

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