PPC’s CFO steps down, denies friction

The chief financial officer of electricity utility Public Power Corporation resigned yesterday in a move analysts said would not have any significant impact on the company. The country’s dominant power utility, which is 51 percent state-owned, gave no reason why Grigoris Anastassiadis, 57, who had been with the company since 2000, resigned. Anastassiadis later said in a statement his resignation was a personal choice. «My departure… was my personal choice. The exercise of my duties in this position since November 2000 was never obstructed and my working relationship with PPC’s management was impeccable,» he said. Analysts predicted short-term pressure on the stock but did not expect Anastassiadis’s surprise departure to have any further effect on the company. «Mr Anastassiadis was very well-received and more market-friendly than anyone else in the company, but he will be replaced,» said Eurocorp analyst George Grigoriou. «Of course, it is important how quickly the company replaces him and with whom,» he added. The company’s shares shed 0.95 percent to settle at 18.72 euros, underperforming the broader Greek market, which ended 0.07 percent firmer. PPC shares have gained 2.38 percent in the year to date. After the passage of a deregulation law last year, industrial consumers may choose suppliers other than PPC, but so far newcomers are only generating electricity for their own use, not directly challenging the previous monopoly. Residential consumers will acquire the same freedom of choice from July 2007. The company’s shares trade at 36 times 2006 estimated earnings, at a hefty premium to Italian utility Enel’s multiple of 15 and Spanish Endesa’s 13, according to Reuters Estimates. (Reuters)