Greek gas grid CEO urges Athens to prioritize privatization

Greek gas grid CEO urges Athens to prioritize privatization

Athens must speed up the privatization of Greek natural gas grid operator DESFA because delays in the process are having a negative impact, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

The privatization of DESFA is part of a drive by Greece to sell state assets, which is a significant condition of the country's bailout by the European Union and IMF.

Greece and its biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum had agreed to sell 66 percent of DESFA to Azerbaijan's SOCAR for 400 million euros ($426 million), but the deal collapsed in November after Athens raised DESFA's tariffs by less than SOCAR had expected and SOCAR demanded a lower price.

"The company's concern is that the process must be quick because the delays and long-lasting procedures affect the everyday business of the company," CEO Sotiris Nikas told an energy conference in Athens.

Nikas said Athens was considering whether to press ahead with the current process or launch a new tender.


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