ECONOMY

Sell-off body stops short of accepting Socar’s DESFA bid

While sell-off fund TAIPED has expressed satisfaction with the improved offer by Azeri energy company Socar for the majority stake in natural gas transmission network operator DESFA, it stopped short of announcing that the tender will be awarded to the sole suitor, as had been expected.

TAIPED’s statement on Thursday added that its board “has prepared all the necessary procedures in order for the tender to be completed as soon as possible.” Fund sources said that the entire process will be completed in the next week or two.

Sources from the government said that there are three purely technical issues pending until the tender is completed. They added that the Greek side is waiting for the submission of a letter of guarantee corresponding to the amount of Socar’s new offer – i.e. 400 million euros – as well as for the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) to certify the compliance of the deal with market regulations and European directives, and the approval of the bid by the board of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), which is selling its 35 percent stake in DESFA through TAIPED.

The word from ELPE was that “the board will convene when it formally has the revised offer in its hands,” adding that the only official binding bid was the original one.

Kathimerini understands that Russian company Sintez has reaffirmed its interest in a package purchase for DESFA and for the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), having failed to submit a bid for either this month. Sintez officials, who last week expressed their interest to the TAIPED managing director Yiannis Emiris, this week visited the TAIPED board for a second time to reiterate their position that the Sintez interest remains alive.

Sources say that TAIPED informed Sintez that it had already reached a deal with Socar, and the Russian officials left without making it clear whether they were still interested in DEPA.