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Business

Greece wants utility firms to lend cash

The Greek government keeps bending over backwards to get hold on fresh cash badly needed to keep the struggling nation afloat financially. Athens is now turning to utility companies to come to the rescue.

Greece's "Kathimerini" newspaper reported Thursday the country's cash-strapped leftist government was pushing major state utility firms to boost its liquidity.

The paper said Athens hoped utilities would agree to lend it some

urgently needed cash

through short-term repurchase (repo) transactions.

"Kathimerini" said the government had started calling on major utilities such as Athens Water Co (EYDAP) and the Public Power Company to undertake such repo deals under which state entities would lend money to the Greek debt agency through short-term repurchase agreements, with the state guaranteeing firms to make up for any capital losses they might incur.

Getting resourceful

Telecoms company OTE was also mentioned as a possible candidate, although the state only held a 10-percent stake in it.

Greece is desperately seeking to unlock the remaining bailout funds from international creditors after it secured a four-month extension to its rescue program on the condition that it implements harsh reforms.

Earlier this month, the government had already hinted it would raid the country's pension and social security funds to raise money for debt repayments. Athens started resorting to the repo loan market after it failed to persuade the European Central Bank to allow it more wiggle room.

hg/ng (AFP, Reuters)

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