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    Greece names Italgas as preferred bidder for gas grid


The deal, which will have an upfront payment of $868mn, is expected to be closed by the end of the year.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Greece names Italgas as preferred bidder for gas grid

Greek privatisation agency HRADF revealed on September 9 that Italy's Italgas was the preferred bidder in a tender for the sale of state gas distribution network operator DEPA Infrastructure.

The Greek state plans to divest its 65% interest in DEPA Infrastructure, while state-owned Hellenic Petroleum, the country's biggest oil refiner, is also selling its 35% interest. Italgas has been named as the preferred bidder to acquire 100% of DEPA, HRADF said, noting that the Italian company's "improved financial offer envisages an upfront payment of €733mn ($868mn)." Both the agency and Hellenic Petroleum have approved the bid.

Italgas, Italy's biggest gas distributor, said separately it would fund the transaction via a fully committed financing package. It anticipates the deal's closure by the end of the year, once necessary authorisations have been received, including antitrust clearance.

"We are the ideal partner to support the Greek government in the development of a key energy infrastructure that will allow the country to rapidly proceed along the path of decarbonisation of the economy," Italgas CEO Paolo Gallo commented.

The company will develop smart, flexible grids to support Greece's phase-out of coal-fired power, while also promoting the greening of the gas grid using biomethane, e-gas and green hydrogen, it said. 

Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas also welcomed the investment by Italgas, which he said would "create many jobs, cut energy cost for households and businesses and help meet the country's ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions."