ATHENS, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The sale and transfer of Greek railway company TrainOSE to Italy's Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane for 45 million euros (53.5 million U.S. dollars) was completed on Thursday, Greece's privatization fund announced.
The agreement was signed in Corfu, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) said in an e-mailed press statement.
"HRADF completes today a bidding process that began four years ago and opens up new page for TrainOSE, as the privatization of the company has resulted in the closure of the European Commission's state aid dossier on TrainOSE's debt to OSE, amounting to 692 million euros," the fund's announcement noted.
Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane is the third largest railway company in Europe.
Italy's railway was the sole candidate to submit a binding offer for the privatization of the Greek railway operator last year during the second international tender launched by the Greek state.
"Italy is Greece's foremost strategic trade partner and we hope that this cooperation will be strengthened further in the sector of investments," Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday in joint statements with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
"Greece is emerging from the crisis and its prospects for growth need to be boosted through substantial foreign investments that will create jobs," Tsipras said, underlining that Italy's railways would invest 500 million euros in Greek railways.
The transfer was sealed as TrainOSE employees held a 24-hour strike and a protest rally in front of the company's headquarters, protesting the privatization out of fear there would be job dismissals. (1 euro = 1.19 U.S. dollars)