Retailer Folli Follie said on Monday it was close to selling a controlling stake in its local duty free operations to Dufry, a Switzerland-based global travel retailer, in a rare deal to emerge from debt-laden Greece.
Talks with Dufry are at an advanced stage, Folli Follie said in a bourse filing in Athens. "The final conclusion of the negotiations (will be) in the next 2-3 weeks," it added, without giving further details.
Dufry is to buy a 51 percent stake in Folli's duty free operations, which have a monopoly, with a network of 90 shops at 45 locations throughout the country. Their operating profit reached EUR€84 million (USD$109.11 million) last year, on sales of EUR€290 million.
The debt crisis has hurt tourism less than other sectors of the Greek economy. Tourism revenues are expected to decline just 5 percent this year, with more than 16 million visitors arriving, just slightly below a record 16.5 million tourists last year.
Folli, one of Greece's most successful companies, has about 800 stores in Europe, Asia and the United States. The company took over Hellenic Duty Free Shops in 2010. Chinese private conglomerate Fosun owns 13.4 percent of Folli.