BUSINESS

Privatization of gas utility DEPA back on the table

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Privatizations, Energy

The transformation of Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) is back on the table ahead of crucial decisions for the privatization of the utility that is 65 percent owned by the state privatizations fund (TAIPED) and 35 percent owned by Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE).

The government’s intention to start the sell-off procedure immediately has been repeatedly expressed by Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, and it is a view that HELPE shares too. The two sides also agree not only on conceding the gas company’s commercial activities, but also its networks and infrastructure, in which the government will seek the sale of a majority stake.

In contrast to the previous government, which insisted on the state holding onto ownership of the infrastructure and networks, the new administration believes there is no reason for that once the national gas grid has been passed on to private investors with the sale of Greek gas grid operator DESFA by the SYRIZA government.

The ministry is currently examining various legislative scenarios, the most likely being the creation of a holding company that would undertake the separate sell-off of each DEPA subsidiary, although this might mean that only the silverware of the utility would be sold.

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