Chinese giant eyeing PPC network

China?s biggest electricity company appears to be showing an interest in Public Power Corporation?s transmission networks, with a reliable source saying that representatives from the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) traveled to Athens two months ago and held meetings with the management of PPC and Energy Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou.

The same source says SGCC is interested in buying a stake in PPC?s new subsidiary, ADMIE, which will start operations on February 1 and will be in charge of PPC?s transmission networks.

The representatives of the Chinese company apparently asked Papaconstantinou to inform them whether ADMIE would be privatized so that they could enter the bidding process for a stake.

A new energy law recently passed through Parliament paved the way for private involvement in PPC?s networks, while Papaconstantinou had previously announced the privatization of all of PPC?s subsidiaries as one of the possible scenarios for the further privatization of the company, which may nevertheless proceed with a part privatization in its current form anyway.

Apart from SGCC, which is one of many Chinese companies to have shown an interest in getting involved in European energy markets, wind turbine maker Sinovel has also held talks with PPC recently regarding a possible collaboration in the field of renewable energy sources (RES). The two firms signed a memorandum of cooperation for the construction of wind parks in northern Greece, with talks as to the realization of the projects continuing.

Proof of China?s expanding interest in European energy is the recent deal between China Three Gorges (CTG) and the Portuguese state for the acquisition of a 21.35 percent stake in Energias de Portugal — a company about the same size as Greece?s PPC — for 2.7 billion euros, a deal that has allowed the Chinese company access to the markets of Spain and Brazil, where the Portuguese firm had previously acquired a stake.

SGCC is the eighth-biggest corporation in the world and the second biggest in China after petrol company Sinopec. It was founded in 2002 and controls over 200,000 kilometers of high-tension wires that serve 128 million people.

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