ECONOMY

Minister: ELPE to get linkup in two months

Oil product company Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is expected to link up with a strategic investor in the next two months, Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos told Kathimerini in an interview. The State is offering to sell a 15- to 30-percent stake in ELPE in a move which will bring its own stake down to below 50 percent. It is currently reviewing three offers, from Austria’s OMV, Yukoil of Russia and a consortium of the Latsis Group and Lukoil of Russia. «Regarding the choice of a strategic partner, we must first ask ourselves whether we want to become a trading or producing country,» he said. The minister said that the State will evaluate the three bids following the flotation of electricity company Public Power Corporation, slated for December 12. It will take at most two months to decide on the final bid. Representatives of the Latsis Group recently visited the minister to discuss issues related to the oil industry. Tsochadzopoulos said he is re-examining the oil industry law promoted by his predecessor, Nikos Christodoulakis. The minister believes that Greece can become a regional energy hub after securing access to oil-producing countries. He said that he has been invited to a meeting of energy ministers from oil- and gas-producing countries such as Iran, Libya and Egypt. A quick look at the table will show that the firms undertaking the projects are major construction companies in the country. The same group is also in charge of constructing the stadiums and other athletic facilities, considered the primary projects.