It appears that it’s back to the drawing board for the DESFA privatization project after the failure of the agreement with Azeri company Socar for the the sale of the state’s gas grid operator. The government is aiming to complete the entire procedure as soon as possible, and definitely within 2017.
The main obstacle to the announcement of a new tender is the pending cancellation of the contract signed in 2013 between state sell-off fund TAIPED and Socar for the transfer of 66 percent of DESFA by common consent and without the forfeiture of the Azeris’ letter of guarantee.
Once that procedure is completed, expected within January, the process will start for the commissioning of a consultant for a revision of the company’s valuation, according to the timetable published by Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis. This will be followed by the new proclamation in search for a strategic investor.
In the meantime the government – in cooperation with its creditors – will review the stake it will put up for sale, as Stathakis implied in an interview with the state’s Athens-Macedonian News Agency. The main scenario under consideration concerns a privatization model similar to that used for the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) – i.e. keeping a 51 percent stake for the state instead of the original 34 percent that the deal with Socar had provided for.
The attitude of the country’s creditors will also determine the position of Hellenic Petroleum, which controls a 35 percent stake in DESFA which it had put up for sale in its entirety in the first tender.