PPC sale set for December

A second tranche of shares in Public Power Corporation (PPC) will be offered to retail investors between December 3 and 6, a top executive of the electricity utility told shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday. Grigoris Anastassiadis, chief financial officer, however did not specify the size of the offering. In the 2003 draft budget published last month, the Finance Ministry indicated that up to 16 percent of PPC would be floated on the Athens and London stock exchanges before the end of the year in the hopes of raising 464 million euros for the state coffers. With PPC closing at 12.96 euros yesterday, the sale of a 16 percent stake at that price would generate 483 million euros for the government. Even with a discount of 5 percent, the tranche would raise slightly more than 400 million euros for the government. Sources told Kathimerini English Edition that the price range for the share offering is expected to be announced on December 9 with trading to start four days later. PPC was partially privatized late last year after the government floated 15 percent of the company via a sale of ordinary stock in Athens and global depository receipts in London. Plans for the sale of another tranche of PPC equity since then has been repeatedly put on hold due to the sluggish stock market. The government, however, needs to raise funds by the end of the year in order to meet debt reduction goals. Shareholders yesterday postponed a decision to next week on when PPC is due to exercise its option to take up a 30 percent stake in gas company DEPA. PPC increased net profits by 32 percent in the first nine months of the year. It is expected to retain its monopoly of the electricity market to 2005 when private sector power producers are due to make their debut.

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