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Thessaloniki citizens' initiative seeks investors to buy city water company

Group proposes social management through local-level cooperatives

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According to the initiative's manifesto, the government's privatisation plan is another case of implementation of the model 'privatisation of the profits, socialisation of the loss'

Thessaloniki citizens take part in a protest against the privatisation of the city's water company Eyath (file photo) Thessaloniki citizens take part in a protest against the privatisation of the city's water company Eyath (file photo) A citizens' initiative in Thessaloniki citizens is seeking the help of an international consortium of socially responsible investors to acquire a 51% stake in the city's public water company Eyath, which the government is seeking to privatise.

The government last February announced a public tender to sell the controlling stake in Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage (Eyath).

Initiative 136 is among four investment groups that have expressed interest in the international tender for the purchase of a 51% stake in the company.

The citizens’ initiative opposes the privatisation of the company and proposes its social management through local-level cooperatives.

The name of the initiative comes from dividing the estimated value of Eyath by the number of users, which produces the symbolic number of €136.

According to the initiative’s manifesto, the government’s privatisation plan for Eyath "is another case of implementation of the model ‘privatisation of the profits, socialisation of the loss'".

"Water is the ultimate commodity that nature offers us and the United Nations has recognised that the access to clean water and sanitation is a human right," Initiative 136 says.

They stress that Eyath is an efficient and profitable company that offers quality water services in low prices, without ever reporting any financial loss. The company's profits during the last 5 years were €75m, while the price of the takeover after the collapse of its stock market value is not more than €55m.

Note: This article was amended on May 13 to reflect the fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has not come out in support of Initiative 136, as the article had originally reported. This misunderstanding arose in part from the translation of the Greek article on Enet into English. We apologise for any misunderstandings. 

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Thessaloniki Water Company (EYATH)
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