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Feb 13, 4:31 AM EST

Greece launches tender for 5 percent stake in OTE telecom

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Violent protests in Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece's state privatization agency says it has launched a tender to sell a five percent stake in the country's dominant OTE telecom company.

The agency said Tuesday that investors must submit their offers by March 15.

Under its international bailout agreements, Greece is committed to sell off swathes of state-owned companies and real estate.

The country lost access to international bond markets in 2010, and has since depended on rescue loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. In exchange for the money, successive governments have been forced to implement brutal spending cuts, tax hikes, economic reforms and privatizations.

The current, third bailout program runs out this summer, after which the country will have to independently finance itself through bond issues.

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