At least 2 of 5 ELPE first-round bids may not meet sale’s criteria

Two of five first-round expressions of interest submitted by investors to an international tender offering a 50.1 percent (at least) stake of ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) may not meet criteria to advance to the procedure’s next stage, for which investors will be requested to submit binding bids.

Though appraisals of the expressions of interest have yet to be completed, officials are believed to be taking closer looks at dossiers submitted by a consortium comprised of Carbon Asset Management DWC-LLC and Qatar’s Alshaheen Group, as well as those submitted by Iraq’s Alrai Group Holdings Limited and the Gupta Family Group Alliance.

Expressions of interest submitted by two commodity traders, Switzerland’s Glencore and Dutch enterprise Vitol appear to be more favorably placed.

It appears that two bidding teams could be eliminated, while disqualification of a third would be an unfavorable development for the privatization’s sale-price prospects as bidding competition would be severely restricted, pundits closely observing the sale informed energypress.

Qualifiers are expected to be announced during the first week of July, meaning a deadline for binding offers will most likely be set for early autumn. If so, the preferred bidder will be announced towards the end of the year and the finalized sale agreement and transaction payment will not take place until 2019.

Though it is still too early to judge, Glencore and Vitol seem the strongest positioned at this stage.

Vitol sells 7 million barrels of crude per day and petroleum products to petroleum groups, multinationals, industrial enterprises, chemical industries as well as the world’s biggest airlines. Last year, the Dutch firm, founded in Rotterdam in 1966, supplied 349 million tons of crude and posted a turnover figure of 181 billion dollars. It maintains 40 offices in various parts of the world, the main branches being in Geneva, Houston, London and Singapore.

Switzerland’s Glencore, the ELPE sale’s other favourite, headquartered in Baar Zug, trades 6 million barrels of crude per day and refined products. Operating production facilities in Cameroon, the Republic of Chad and Guinea, Glencore also holds a 49 percent stake in the oil storage and logistics firm HG as well as a 10 percent stake in the Singapore-based refinery JAC.