BUSINESS

Stathakis upsets DESFA sale plans

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy, Privatizations

The government is taking the privatization of gas network operator DESFA back to square one, reversing what has been agreed with Greece’s creditors on the fast-track process and the immediate restart of the existing tender.

Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis on Tuesday informed the creditors of a new plan providing for the state to retain a 51 percent controlling stake in DESFA, along similar lines to the recent sell-off of 24 percent of power grid operator ADMIE.

Stathakis added in his letter that the government is not responsible for what DESFA’s other main stakeholder, Hellenic Petroleum, decides regarding the sale of its 35 percent stake. Therefore, given that the state’s stake comes to 65 percent, the Stathakis plan provides for the sale of just 14 percent of DESFA, which would hardly be attractive for investors if Hellenic Petroleum were to decide against putting its stake up for sale.

Besides the difficulty in attracting buyers with a stake that does not secure a strategic role, the Stathakis plan says nothing about how it will match the revenues forecast on the basis of the sale of 66 percent of DESFA to Azeri state firm Socar, which fell through. The revenues were forecast at 188 million euros.

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