Aggressive DEPA privatization in making, draft bill next month

Gas utility DEPA’s state-controlled era appears to be reaching its end as the energy ministry is looking to privatize the Greek State’s entire stake in the utility’s trading and infrastructure interests.

The Greek State – via privatization fund TAIPED – holds a 65 percent stake in DEPA, with Hellenic Petroleum ELPE owning the other 35 percent.

DEPA is at the forefront of the recently elected conservative New Democracy government’s privatization program, sources informed.

The Greek State’s interests in DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure – the two new corporate entities formed through a DEPA spit plan engineered by the former Syriza government’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis – will be completely withdrawn, the sources noted.

The former government was planning to offer a majority stake of DEPA Trade followed by a minority stake of DEPA Infrastructure.

Required legislation needed to proceed with the revised DEPA plan will be attached to a draft bill concerning changes at power utility PPC, expected in parliament early next month.

The DEPA legislative revisions will enable a complete transfer of the Greek State’s 65 percent stake in DEPA Trade to the privatization fund. Current law permits the transfer and sale of 50 percent plus one share.

The transfer to TAIPED of a 66 percent share of the Greek State’s stake in DEPA Infrastructure is also being planned, according to some sources, while others have not ruled out a full 100 percent transfer. The previous government had ratified law limiting DEPA Infrastructure’s privatization to less than 49 percent.

Sources have informed of yet another change in the making that entails the establishment of a new company and transfer, to it, of DEPA’s stakes in pipeline projects such as the IGB, Poseidon, East Med and IGI. Current law obligates such a company to remain a part of DEPA Infrastructure.

All these changes are expected to be finalized within the next few days.