Gov’t starts search for DEPA investor

The government said yesterday it will start looking for a strategic investor for state-controlled gas company DEPA as part of its privatization plans for the year. The Economy and Finance Ministry expects to raise 1 billion euros from privatizations but has yet to make public which state assets will go under the hammer. DEPA had been slated for listing on the Athens bourse but it appears these plans have been shelved due to the worsening economic conditions. Following the meeting of a joint ministerial privatization commitee yesterday, the Finance Ministry said in a statement it will announce the names of the advisers that are to be appointed the task of finding a strategic investor. No further details were given. Last year, DEPA signed a memorandum of cooperation with France’s Gaz de France in an effort to increase Greece’s natural gas supplies. The agreement is for the two companies to work together in the fields of liquefied natural gas and energy infrastructure. The privatization committee also decided to look into ways to garner revenues through the use of sale-and-leaseback techniques for state real estate property, the ministry added. According to press reports, the ministry plans to make use of some 26 units of property it owns, worth an estimated 1.8 billion euros, through the sale-and-leaseback program.

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