Greece's $55B privatization fund: How it will work

Privatization huge big deal in Greece: Wilbur Ross
Privatization huge big deal in Greece: Wilbur Ross   

One of the key terms of Greece's 86 billion euro ($95 billion) reform-for-aid package secured Monday is its privatization "trust" fund into which Athens will transfer some 50 billion euros worth ($55 billion) of its assets.

The fund, which still needs to be approved by the Greek parliament by Wednesday, will then raise money for Greece either by selling the assets off or by running them profitably. The fund will be divided, with half of the 50 billion euro being used for bank recapitalisation, 25 percent to be used to pay down debt and the remaining 25 percent will be reinvested in the Greek economy.

CNBC takes a look at what's involved:

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Bulk carrier Ormi, operated by the Pilot Shipping Company, as the vessel sits moored at the quay side in the port of Perama, Greece
Kostas Tsironis I Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bulk carrier Ormi, operated by the Pilot Shipping Company, as the vessel sits moored at the quay side in the port of Perama, Greece

Why does Greece need a privatization fund?

The fund will act as an insurance policy for euro zone creditors who feel that Greece has consistently fallen short on its promises of reforms. For example, some of the privatisation reforms that formed part of Greece's earlier bailout deal dating back as early as 2010, have yet to be enforced.

What will the fund contain?

According to the Euro Summit statement, which provides details on Greece's bailout deal, the fund will include "valuable Greek assets." This fund will also be established in Greece and managed by the Greek authorities, albeit under the supervision of the "relevant European institutions".

There is no further detail on what Greek assets the fund will contain, but large public companies and entities including stakes in Greek banks, electrical and utility companies, airports and ports are likely to be included. There is some speculation that the fund could even contain government-owned land and property.

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How much time does Greece have to sell?

The statement said that assets placed in the fund will be sold over the duration of the loans issued by creditors. This initial deal is intended to cover Greek financing needs for up to three years, but the loans issued by the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone's bailout program should have longer maturities of 10 years or longer, meaning Greece has some time to sell off its state assets.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seen on a television monitor while addressing the nation in Athens, Greece July 1, 2015.
ERT | Pool | Reuters
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seen on a television monitor while addressing the nation in Athens, Greece July 1, 2015.

What are investors saying?

"I think the thing that makes it work, is what they are not asking for is a fire sale of Greek state-owned companies. They are not saying you just have to sell 50 billion worth of Greek companies and give us the money as soon as you can. They are transferring companies or bits of them into the fund and they are going to run those companies for profit and run those companies in a way that delivers maximum return possible," said Jim Leaviss, head of retail fixed income at M&G, the U.K.'s largest asset manager.

US least exposed to Greece fallout: Fund manager
US least exposed to Greece fallout: Fund manager   

"So for me it's important that it's not a fire sale of companies. Because that would realise a much lower value for the Greek people and would be humiliating to be forced to sell your assets to capitalists around the world who are coming to sell your companies."

On the other hand, Chief credit strategist at LNG Capital, Gary Jenkins said 50 billion euros is in line with an International Monetary Fund projection of value of potential Greek privatisations way back in 2011. Since then, those assets have almost certainly decreased in value, he said.

"How much by? Impossible for me to even speculate, but as a starting point how much is the Greek stock market down since then? 40 pecent?," he said.

"Perhaps the best line about the privatisation fund though comes from Tsipras, who proudly stated that he had kept Greek assets from going abroad. In the sense that the administration will be situated in Greece. If he had signed the deal on offer just a few short weeks ago there wouldn't have been any such segregated fund," Jenkins said.

"Incidentally I wonder how Greek workers at these assets will feel about being ultimately managed by an outside party. I'm sure they will be delighted and there will be no protests at all... ," he added.