Ambiguities prompt deadline extension for PPC units sale

Prospective buyers of lignite units offered by the main power utility PPC in a bailout-required disinvestment have been given additional time to submit binding bids, from January 7 to 15, as a result of various ongoing ambiguities troubling investors.

However, this eight-day deadline extension, granted unofficially without a proper Brussels approval procedure, may need to be stretched further if clarity is not secured for investors – especially the outcome of a voluntary exit plan for 1,248 employees at state-controlled PPC’s two lignite-fired power stations, Meliti and Megalopoli. All developments indicate the sale procedure will not go ahead unless this plan is completed.

Applying pressure, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos wants pending national commitments, including the sale of PPC units, to be completed ahead of a second post-bailout review commencing on January 21.

Most investors eyeing the PPC sale have raised labor-cost concerns for both the Meliti and Megalopoli power stations, noting their aggregate workforce number should be reduced to 600.

The CAT remuneration level for these units, still unclear, is also spooking  investors.

Just after Christmas, on December 27, Energypress had reported that a deadline extension was inevitable, despite energy ministry claims of adherence to the procedure’s schedule, according to which, follow-up improved bids, if needed, would have been submitted on January 10. Given this schedule, the appraisal date for offers had been set for January 11 while Brussels was to be updated on January 15.