BUSINESS

PPC gets shareholder approval for grid spin-off

TAGS: Energy, Privatizations

Greece’s main power utility Public Power Corporation secured shareholders’ approval on Tuesday to sell part of its grid operator to the state, a final step in concluding the spin-off of the grid next month.

Asset sales are a key condition of the multi-billion-euro bailout Greece signed up to in mid-2015, its third since 2010.

Under the plan agreed between Athens and its lenders from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, PPC will divest a 25 percent stake of the grid to the state for 296 million euros.

It had earlier agreed to sell another 24 percent to China’s State Grid for 320 million euros and will transfer the rest to its current shareholders for free.

PPC hopes to receive the proceeds from the overall process in June, chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis told reporters after the shareholders’ meeting.

The cash will offer a major boost to the utility, which has been hit hard by unpaid bills during the Greek debt crisis.

PPC, which is 51 percent government owned and earmarked for partial privatization, controls about 90 percent of the country’s retail market and needs to cut its share to below 50 percent by 2019 under Greece’s third international bailout.

Last year Athens launched power capacity sales to alternative power producers to open up the electricity market but Panagiotakis has said this was not enough to achieve the target.

On Monday he said PPC plans to put a unit up for sale in which it plans to transfer 7 percent of its subscriber base, or 400,000 to 450,000 customers, by July.

[Reuters]

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