ECONOMY

PPC share offer oversubscribed 1.8 times, price at 12.70 euros

The initial public offering of a 15-percent share in Greece’s state electricity company Public Power Corporation was subscribed 1.8 times, the Finance Ministry announced yesterday. During the subscription phase, from Tuesday to Friday, Greek and foreign retail and institutional investors demanded a total of 61.2 million shares. PPC was offering a total of 35 million shares, of which 23 million were existing shares and 12 million represent a capital increase. As a result of the demand, the IPO price was set at 12.70 euros, near the low end of the price range of 12.30 to 14.70 euros. Greek retail investors get a 3-percent discount, so they will acquire the shares at 12.32 euros. On top of that, they were offered a maximum of 200 bonus shares if they hold on to their shares for a six-month period. PPC employees, who acquired shares through private placement, are prevented from selling theirs for six months. The IPO deal includes an over-allotment, or so-called greenshoe option of 2.32 million existing PPC shares, to be used to stabilize the share price. Including the greenshoe shares, it means that PPC and the State, the only shareholder thus far, will be paid 463.3 million euros (157.8 billion drachmas), of which 312.3 million euros (106.4 billion drachmas) will go into state coffers. This puts PPC’s total capitalization at 2.946 billion euros (about 1.004 trillion drachmas). The stock will begin trading on the Athens and London stock exchanges on Wednesday. In London, it will be traded in the form of depositary receipts (GDRs), with one GDR equaling one share. Greek investors took up 56 percent of the shares offered,with the other 44 percent going to foreign institutionals. Joint global coordinators of the IPO were ABN Amro Rothschild, Alpha Finance, Goldman Sachs International and National Bank of Greece. This is undoubtedly a very important moment for PPC, the Greek capital markets and the privatization program, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said. We are delighted with the response from both retail and institutional investors in Greece and throughout the world, added Christodoulakis. In February this year, PPC lost its monopoly on electricity production. Private operators have applied for production units, many utilizing renewable energy sources, such as wind. For the time being, PPC retains its distribution monopoly. It is also seeking alliances with major European electricity companies to trade electricity and distribute it in neighboring Balkan and Eastern European countries. PPC Managing Director Stergios Nezis created a minor controversy two weeks ago, in the presentation of the company prospectus, when he declared that PPC would have to increase its rates, which were the lowest in the European Union. Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos contradicted him, saying this would not occur; former conservative Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis criticized Tsochadzopoulos during a parliamentary debate, telling him that you cannot couple market liberalization with a promise not to change prices.