BUSINESS

Focus on energy privatizations

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy, Privatizations

The Environment and Energy Ministry is seeking to accelerate the process of energy-related privatizations, giving priority to those concerning energy networks as they are not affected by the drop in stock values. The course of those projects will to a great extent determine the success of the overall program of privatizations that the Greek government has committed to.

The seven privatization projects that the ministry is managing are those of the two natural gas companies, DEPA Infrastructures and DEPA Commercial, as well as Hellenic Petroleum, the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE), the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDIE), the underground natural gas storage facility at Kavala (UGS), and the General Mining and Metallurgical Company (Larco).

They account for no less than two-thirds of the national privatizations program, for which state asset utilization fund TAIPED has recorded a shortfall of 2 billion euros from the revenues budgeted due to the impact of the pandemic.

The timetables of even the most mature privatization projects, such as those of DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Commercial, have been pushed back, and a dynamic restart is now being attempted so that they can be completed by the first quarter of 2021.

The government is seeking to begin the process for the part-privatization of DEDDIE within November. Through the sell-off, owner Public Power Corporation will concede at least 49% of DEDDIE plus increased management rights to a strategic investor. The aim will be to attract not only institutional but also strategic investors that will be able to support investments that are necessary for the modernization of the grid.

At the same time Athens will try to find some common ground with China State Grid, the strategic investor in ADMIE, so as to proceed with the entry of a third investor in the high-voltage network manager.

At end-September the ministry will record any initial interest in the use of the UGS at Kavala, while within October it will start the privatization for Larco, the result of which will determine the continuation of the problematic company’s operation. The Hellenic Petroleum project has been postponed for now due to the pandemic’s impact on its stock price.

Online