BUSINESS

Gov’t to split gas company DEPA

TAGS: Energy, Business

Greece plans to split its natural gas company DEPA into two separate entities, its distribution grid and its commercial operations, the country’s deputy energy minister said on Thursday.

The government plans to sell its 65 percent stake in each unit, minister Gerassimos Thomas said, adding that there was strong interest from foreign investors in the utility, which imports gas from Russia, Turkey and Algeria.

“We believe that the privatization will give the chance to make better use of and develop distribution networks in the country,” Thomas said.

“Gas penetration is low.”

He added that a third company will take over pipeline schemes, including a trans-border natural gas pipeline between Greece and Bulgaria known as IGB, and Greece would keep its stake there.

The new conservative government which took power in July has been keen to speed up privatizations in the energy sector, including that of DEPA, which is 65 percent state-owned.

The future privatization of DEPA was also discussed at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday.

The previous government passed legislation that would split DEPA operations, with the aim of selling a 50.1 percent stake in its retail business and a minority stake in its distribution grid.

Mitsotakis’ government has prepared a bill which amends the previous legislation on DEPA.

[Reuters]

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