ECONOMY

Iberdrola denies rumor

Spanish power company Iberdrola yesterday denied a Greek newspaper report that it was interested in buying a stake in refiner Hellenic Petroleum’s (HELPE) power unit. Iberdrola has no interest in purchasing a stake in Hellenic Petroleum’s power unit, a spokesman at the Spanish utility said. Citing unnamed sources, financial daily Naftemporiki had said Spain’s second-largest utility was interested in a stake in Hellenic Petroleum’s power unit outside Thessaloniki. The paper said Iberdrola had also sounded out the Greek refiner on a joint bid for new electricity production units that the government plans. Iberdrola’s spokesman said the company would analyze every business opportunity that arises in the electricity business in Greece, together with Rokas, Greece’s biggest wind power farm in which it holds a 49.9 percent stake. Hellenic Petroleum declined to comment on the report although its spokesman, Evangelos Stranis, said executives from the two companies had met on Thursday. «There was an exchange of views on different energy issues in the wider Mediterranean region,» he said. HELPE has complained that its Thessaloniki power plant cannot compete fairly with the artificially low rates charged by the country’s main electricity supplier, the Public Power Corporation. Nevertheless, it has applied for a permit for a second plant, near Athens. Iberdrola plans to invest 1 billion euros ($1.21 billion) in Greece over the next three years, its chief executive, Ignacio Sanchez Galan, told Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday, according to a ministry statement. Hellenic Petroleum shares gained 0.16 percent to 12.60 euros, with the broader market ending 0.22 percent lower. (Reuters, Kathimerini)