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    Greece Shortlists 6 Bids for Distribution Grid


Greece has been trying to sell Depa's various activities since 2012.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Greece Shortlists 6 Bids for Distribution Grid

Greece's privatisation agency Taiped has shortlisted six bids to acquire the distribution network of state gas utility Depa, it said on June 2.

The investors to make the cut are a Chinese joint venture between Sino-CEE Fund and Shanghai Dazhong Public Utilities, Czech-based EP Investment Advisors, Australia's First State Investments, Australia's Macquarie, Italy's Italgas and the US' KKR.

Greece is seeking bids for 100% of Depa Infrastructure – 65% of which is held by Taiped and 35% by state-owned Hellenic Petroleum. Taiped reported in February it had collected expressions of interest in the sale from nine parties. The shortlisted investors will be given access to data and the opportunity to visit Depa sites before they submit binding offers.

Greece's parliament passed a law last year breaking up gas firm Depa into its different functions in order to improve competition and efficiency in the country's gas sector and help attract private investment. Taiped is also preparing to privatise its gas supply business Depa Commercial. Depa International Projects, which manages cross-border infrastructure schemes including the proposed EastMed gas pipeline, is also due to be spun off but will remain in state hands.

Greece first began the process of selling Depa and its gas transmission grid operator Desfa in 2012, under reform commitments agreed with its international lenders, but struggled for years to attract investors who were themselves unbundled entities. Desfa was finally sold to Italy's Snam, Spain's Enagas and Belgium's Fluxys in late 2018.