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Greece willing to move ahead on key asset sales to appease lenders: source

[ATHENS] Greece is willing to quickly finalise a 1.2 billion-euro deal with German operator Fraport to run regional airports and reopen bidding for a majority stake in Piraeus port, a senior privatisations official told Reuters on Tuesday.

The plan to press ahead on the two major asset sales - whose fate had been in doubt since Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took power - appeared to be the latest concessions offered by his government in an effort to secure aid from EU and IMF lenders.

The Greek finance, shipping and economy ministries involved in the two asset sales declined to comment. "The issue of regional airports will be concluded immediately," the official at Greece's privatisations agency HRADF said on condition of anonymity, adding an announcement could be expected by May 15.

The official also said Athens would invite, in the coming days, shortlisted investors to submit by July binding offers for a 51 per cent stake in Greece's biggest port, Piraeus, with the option to raise their stake to 67 per cent over five years.

China's Cosco Group, which already manages two of Piraeus port's cargo piers, is among five preferred bidders.