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Transport enterprises will be on the market soon
The privatization bid for the biggest state-owned hotel, Ghion Hotel Enterprise, once again failed to attract interested buyers on the bid opening day held on Friday. Even though the bid opening was expected to be well attended by parties interested in the acquisition of the hotel, no bid documents were submitted for Ghion when the sealed box was opened in the bid hall of the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA).
According to the information obtained from the agency, the document for the hotel bid was sold to interested bidders, but apparently they didn’t submit their bid offers. Normally, the bid hall is busy with bid participants in attendance, but the PPESA hall was strangely quiet during that particular day. On the day, the bid of another three public enterprises was opened, but only one enterprise received one interested buyer, while the other two, like Ghion, did not receive any bid offer at all. The Commercial Printing Press was the only enterprise with an interested bidder. According to the bid document, Girma Gifa Wossen has offered over 60.1 million birr for the purchase of the printing enterprise, which was also up for bid on several occasions, but failed to attract investors until now. Girma’s document indicated that he will pay the initial 35 percent of the offer he made when he takes over Commercial Printing Press and the balance within a period of 5 years. But he said that the stated amount he has offered includes the acquisition of the two machineries he had seen at the printing press premises that were not included in the bid document.
Wondafrash Assefa, the Public Relations Head of PPESA, notified Capital that the bidder has offered an acceptable price for the financial part of the bid document, but will be evaluated soon on the technical part.
The other enterprises that did not attract interested bidders were Agricultural Mechanisation Service Enterprise and the Artistic Printing Enterprise.
Recently, sources informed Capital that the agency had hoped that the bid will attract potential investors as it has revised the floor price of the hotel, previously set at 150 million dollars.
Wondafrash said that the exact indicative price for the hotel will not be officially disclosed unless it receives interested bidders. Ghion Hotel, one of the oldest and biggest public hotels in Addis Ababa, has been put on the market several times, but failed to attract serious buyers.
Even though local and foreign investors have managed to go all the way up to the final stage to acquire the hotel, the deals have finally failed.
For instance, at the bid opening held in August last year not a single interested buyer turned up, although about 15 companies had bought the bid document from the agency.
Ghion hotel is extremely popular for its vast garden areas. According to the government’s plan, investors interested in buying Ghion have to undertake massive expansion in accordance with international hotel standards.
Ghion Hotel Enterprise was established in 1951 and used to operate a chain of eleven hotels in northern Ethiopia, and the National Hotel in Addis Ababa, which was sold to the Ethiopian Athletics Federation two years ago.
According to the Public relations head of the agency, the enterprise has a plan to put up other enterprises for bid in the near future after the agency’s board approved the detailed document of the bid and indicative prices of the enterprises. He said that the enterprises up for bid, which did not attract interested buyers during Friday’s bid session, may again be put up in an upcoming bid that will be disclosed before the end of the current fiscal year (July 7).
The head indicated that about five new enterprises will be put on the market in the coming few weeks.
According to Wondafrash, the biggest public transport enterprises that includes Weyra, which is engaged in the liquid freight transport sector and plays a major role in providing and distributing fuel and gas, Shebele and Bekelcha transport will also be part of the upcoming bid. These big transport enterprises engaged in liquid, public and bulk transportation, will be on the bid for the first time.
According to the information Capital received from the agency, the other big transport enterprise, Commet Transport, which is also involved in bulk transport, will remain under government control.