Athens bourse listing for DEPA a likely Plan B sale option

The Greek privatization effort’s Asset Development Plan (ADP), just made official by its publication in the government gazette, endorsed by all relevant ministers, includes – as had been expected, despite energy ministry denial – DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, whose 65 percent will be put up for sale.

Two urgent details are highlighted in DEPA’s inclusion on the ADP list, one being the need by TAIPED, the State Privatization Fund, to appoint consultants for the sale by the third quarter this year, the other being the need to assess all options for the sale’s relaunch, presumably with assistance from the consultants.

A previous effort by Greece to sell a DEPA stake ended as a fiasco in 2013 when Russia’s Gazprom had reportedly made an enormous offer that swept all other interested parties aside before it withdrew its interest, citing complications.

At the time, Gazprom attributed its retreat to certain conditions included in the sale procedure’s international tender as well as the failure of DEPA debtors to provide guarantees for amounts owed. The Greek government, at the time, contended that Gazprom faced European Commission-related problems. Not long after, the EU executive body had announced the launch of an antitrust investigation against the Russian natural gas giant.

The strategy for the relaunch of the DEPA sale, following the previous effort’s failure, remains undetermined. Its listing on the bourse is a likely Plan B option as the natural gas company’s administration has already prepared a major investment plan for Greece and abroad.