European firms set to enter DESFA


By the end of September the entry of European companies into the share capital of Greek natural gas transmission network operator DESFA will become definitive.

European firms will obtain a combined stake of 17 percent, so that the stake of Azeri state company Socar is reduced to 49 percent, the maximum level acceptable to the European competition authorities, with the aim of completing DESFA’s privatization within December.

Sources say that by the end of the month it will become clear which company or companies will buy out the crucial stake of 17 percent from Socar. There are currently two parallel negotiations under way, one with Italy’s Snam for the entire package of 17 percent, and one with Swiss firm Fluxys and Dutch company Gasunie for their joint participation in the share capital. Snam’s option appears to be the preferred one at this stage, due to its size.