Sources familiar with the privatization of natural gas network operator DESFA expect the deal for the sale of a 66 percent stake in the company to close by the end of February or early March.
Once the agreement is sealed, the procedure for its approval by the Regulatory Authority for Energy and the European Commission will begin, which may last up to six months, followed by the separation of DESFA from the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA).
Therefore, based on the favorable scenario, the privatization of DESFA could be completed within the third quarter of next year. By that time, authorities expect the agreed price will have been paid to the state (which is selling a 31 percent stake) and Hellenic Petroleum (which has put its entire 35 percent stake in the gas grid operator up for sale).
The price will determine the course of the privatization project, with both the state and Hellenic Petroleum having set the bar at the 400-million-euro offer that Azeri firm Socar made in the previous tender for DESFA in 2013. Stakeholders are not likely to accept a lower price, given also the strengthening of DESFA’s position in recent years with high profits and growth in gas demand.