IPTO management alternative ‘to be sought if lenders insist’

An alternative measure of equivalent value will be sought if the country’s lenders insist on private management for a new company proposed by the government to take on the fixed assets of IPTO, Greece’s gas grid operator, associates of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have told energypress.

The prime minister’s aides said that they have been informed by the energy ministry on the demand raised by lenders, while also noting they felt an impasse has not yet been reached.

The prime minister’s aides will be waiting for news from Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis’s meeting with creditor representatives, expected this week, for a clearer picture on the IPTO matter. A date for the meeting has not yet been announced.

Government officials believe leeway exists on the IPTO case and feel that a deal with a leaning towards Greece’s proposal can be achieved.

The lenders have accepted a Greek proposal for the establishment of a new company to take on IPTO’s fixed assets, but are now demanding that its management be assumed by a private-sector company, which would enter the deal as a strategic investor, regardless of the stake it will hold in the new company. Based on the plan, the Greek state will hold a stake of at least 51 percent in the new company.

Greek officials feel that the private-management demand made by the lenders is unreasonable.

IPTO is a wholly-owned subsidiary firm of the main power utility PPC, whose overwhelming market dominance in Greece’s electricity market, from production to retail, will need to be drastically restricted as part of the bailout deal.

All the Greek officials appear to have secured at this stage is avoidance of IPTO’s privatization.