Electricite de France’s interest in Public Power Corporation has been revived by new regulations on the electricity market in the bailout agreement, while domestic energy groups are also looking to get in on the game as genuine opportunities for investment and competition appear to be opening up for the first time.
Sources say that EDF’s interest in PPC is high on the agenda of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s scheduled visit to Greece on June 3.
The French power company has been monitoring developments in the domestic electricity market for some time now, focusing exclusively on PPC and waiting for conditions to ripen, knowing that it is impossible for European Union states to keep their markets closed to their peers for ever.
Back in April 2014, ahead of the double target for the creation of the so-called “Small PPC” and the concession of a 17 percent stake in PPC to a strategic investor, EDF formally expressed its interest in PPC for the first time during a lightning trip by its then chief, Henri Proglio, to Athens. “He arrived carrying a provisional study on the synergies that EDF’s entry into the Greek market would offer, and was very well versed in PPC’s financial situation and the detailed program of privatizations,” competent government officials had then told Kathimerini.
At the time EDF had expressed an interest in entering PPC as a strategic investor, wanting to buy out the 17 percent stake whose sale formed part of the second bailout program.
Now the French interest has been rekindled following Greece’s new deal with its creditors, which dictates that Athens sell the state’s 17 percent stake in PPC within 2016. EDF’s strategy will depend on the contacts it has with government officials in the next few weeks. That will also affect the policy of EDF’s Italian subsidiary Edison regarding its participation in consortiums with PPC.
Talks between Edison and PPC and with its main partner in the local power market, Hellenic Petroleum, started a few months ago, with the Italian company wishing to take part in consortiums with PPC, but these stopped in anticipation of the completion of the bailout review.