ECONOMY

PPC head calls for drastic solutions

ppc-head-calls-for-drastic-solutions

A day before the publication of Public Power Corporation’s first-quarter results on Friday, which will reveal the extent of the utility’s financial troubles, the corporation’s chairman and chief executive officer chose to present an account of his time in office at PPC’s annual general meeting.

Manolis Panagiotakis claimed on Thursday that PPC does not constitute a systemic danger and that the negative figures can be reversed. He went on to criticize the political interventions and tactics as well as the constraints on the company compared to private competitors, and stated that the business plan proposed by consultant McKinsey is being implemented.

However, he did stress that PPC cannot go on without any rate hikes, and proposed either the entry of a strategic investor with the state retaining a privileged minority stake of 33 percent, or the utility’s disengagement from its current public service limitations.

The PPC chief said the power giant is neither a systemic danger not is it crumbling. However, he added, it does face structural problems that may be resolved on the basis of the declared goals of all political parties, i.e. regardless of who leads the next government.

Panagiotakis warned that the situation is getting worse due to the special status of PPC that imposes restrictions on the company. He said this situation could be improved either via the maintenance of state control but with the application of new corporate governance rules, for the management to gain a degree of flexibility, or through the sale of a minority stake to a strategic investor.

Crucially he said he wondered how much longer the corporation could survive for, as the 400-million-euro reduction of salary expenditure does not even cover the cost of the power auctions, as the auctioned quantities exceed the output from the lignite-powered and hydroelectric units so the company is forced to buy power for a higher price than that at which it resells it to its competitors.