EU Commission: sale of Greek gas firm should resume as soon as possible

The European Commission would like Greece to have another go at selling the state-run gas firm DEPA as soon as possible after Athens failed to attract any bid for the company by Monday’s deadline, Commission spokesman Simon O’Connor said on Tuesday.

Failure to sell DEPA means Athens is likely to miss its binding target to raise at least 1.8 billion euros from privatization revenues by end-September and an indicative goal to raise at least 2.5 billion euros by the end of this year.

Privatization revenues are important for Greece to put its public finances back in order under the terms of an international bailout.

“The outcome of the privatization process of the gas sector in Greece is very important from the point of view of revenues and the impact on the reform of the energy sector,” O’Connor told a regular briefing.

“In this context the privatization of DEPA should resume as soon as possible,” he said. “The design and execution of the privatization program is the responsibility of the Greek authorities.”

“The Greek authorities will now have to asses what happened and how best to address this and move on. Our message is simply that we would like to see this resumed as soon as possible.” [Reuters]