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    Greek Grid Attracts Two Bids


Greece's privatisation agency has received two binding offers for a 66% stake in Desfa.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Corporate, Political, Privatisations, Contracts and tenders, TSO, News By Country, Azerbaijan, Greece, Malta

Greek Grid Attracts Two Bids

Greek privatisation agency HRADF (known in Greek as Taiped) said February 16 it received two binding offers for the acquisition of 66% interest in Greek gas transmission grid Desfa.

The two-thirds stake is made up of 31% owned by HRADF and 35% owned by publicly-listed Greek refiner Hellenic Petroleum. The Greek state will retain a 34% strategic interest in Desfa.

The two offers received were from: a consortium of Italian gas grid operator Snam alongside its Spanish and Belgian counterparts Enagas and Fluxys; and a separate consortium of Spain's Reganosa (operator of the Ferrol LNG import terminal) plus its investment arm, alongside Romanian state gas grid operator Transgaz and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). HRADF said that the evaluation process would begin immediately, in line with the terms specified in the tender’s process letter.

The tender for the 66% majority interest in Desfa, which also owns Greece's only existing LNG import terminal at Revythoussa, began after Azerbaijan state producer Socar decided against becoming a minority investor in Desfa alongside international co-investors.

In 2013 Socar agreed to buy the 66% stake in Desfa for 400mn ($496mn) but was subsequently blocked from acquiring majority ownership by a competition ruling by the European Commission (EC), and decided against being a minority partner. The EC move was seen by some as contrarian, as it had harried Athens into selling off as many state assets as possible after the financial crisis of 2008-10, and indebted Greece's decision to seek an EU bailout after not pulling out of the eurozone. However Azerbaijan's (rather than Socar's) role in energy governance has since come under the spotlight in Malta and other areas; the EU's investment bank however earlier this month agreed a €1.5bn loan for a pipeline (TAP) to deliver Azeri gas to Europe.