Securities regulator OKs the PPC offering

After months of dithering stemming from the sluggish stock market, the sale of a second tranche of shares in electricity utility Public Power Corporation finally appears to be taking shape after the Capital Market Commission yesterday approved the company’s public offering. CMC, the securities watchdog, said the public offering would consist of shares held by the State or DEKA, the state portfolio management company. The government is expected to sell up to 15 percent of PPC equity on the Athens and London stock exchanges. PPC officials told shareholders at yesterday’s extraordinary general meeting that the offering would be held between December 3 to 6. The price range is expected to be announced December 9 and the shares provisionally scheduled to start trading on December 12. The company plans to launch a roadshow next Tuesday to present its merits to local and international investors. Shareholders yesterday also approved a proposal by PPC to exercise its option to acquire a stake of up to 30 percent in gas utility DEPA. Other shareholders in DEPA include the State and oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum with 35 percent. Nine companies have expressed interest in acquiring a stake of up to 35 percent in DEPA. The move into the gas industry underlines PPC’s gradual transformation into a diversified conglomerate. Last year it underlined its interest in the local telecommunications industry by acquiring a fixed-telephony license and subsequently setting up a joint venture with Italian telecoms company Wind. UBS Warburg and Deutsche Bank will be leading PPC’s offering. Goldman Sachs and ABN Amro were principal underwriters for the company’s initial public offering in December last year during which the government sold a 16 percent stake for 464 million euros. PPC’s stock ended 0.76 percent higher to close at 13.28 euros yesterday. The shares have risen by 8.67 percent since the beginning of the year, in contrast to the benchmark index which has lost a third of its value.

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