20 Feb 2012

Greece privatisation 'may raise only 4.5bn euro'

1:07 pm on 20 February 2012

Greece's privatisation chief says selling off state assets is proving difficult and may raise just half the money its European Union partners expect.

The plan for two waves of privatisation to be pushed through this year aims to raise €10 billion to help reduce Greece's massive debt.

However, the President of the Hellenic Asset Management Fund, Ionnis Koukiades, says he's under pressure to sell quickly and the selloff may raise only €4.5 billion.

He said the market is "frozen" and investors still don't know if Greece will stay in the eurozone.

Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has expressed support for the austerity measures agreed by Greek politicians.

Mr Geithner described the measures as a very strong and very difficult package of reforms.

He was speaking on the eve of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, which will decide whether Greece should get a second huge bailout.