PPC boss in China to present plans, check bailout reaction

The main power utility PPC chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis has scheduled a series of meetings with key electricity market officials in China over the next few days to present project plans and, most crucially, see how Chinese investors feel about Greece’s bailout update, revised following last week’s conclusion of the second review. He will also seek to nurture ties with Chinese investors.

The PPC chief, who plans to meet with officials at CMEC - currently examining the prospect of developing Melitis II, a carbon-fired power station in Greece’s north - the Shenhua Group, SPIC, and the China Development Bank (CDB), will present plans for the construction of two additional carbon-fired power stations, not including Meliti II.

If Panagiotakis’s plan to develop additional power stations with Chinese support is to make any progress, several bailout-related developments will need to be overcome. The existing Meliti I and prospective Meliti II power stations must be exempted from a sale package of PPC carbon-fired power stations specified in the updated bailout agreement; energy minister Giorgos Stathakis needs to reverse an intention to stage a new tender for a mine at Vevi, whose supply is crucial for Meliti II; PPC will need to be granted permission to form partnerships with private-sector companies; and a Greek bid for free CO2 emmission rights at the European Commisison must succeed.

In an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini, the PPC boss stated he believes a certain degree of leeway in Brussels continues to exist, expressing confidence that Greece’s lenders, including the European Commission, will reexamine certain aspects of the latest bailout.

A meeting between Panagiotakis and CMEC president Zhang Chun will be important as the two officials have already extensively discussed the Meliti II project.

On his visit to China, the PPC chief will accompany Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at a Beijing conference, the Belt and Road Forum. PPC officials hope the prime minister will underline the Meliti II project remains alive.

Once back from China, Panagiotakis will travel to Brussels to present his PPC plans to the European Commission.