Athens given second chance by Brussels for PPC lignite sale

Energy ministry officials are busy preparing a follow-up proposal for the main power utility PPC’s bailout-required disinvestment of lignite units, expected to be forwarded to the European Commission within the current week, sources have informed.

The new proposal, which follows a recently failed first sale attempt whose terms did not fully convince investors and subdued offers, is seen as a second chance for Greece to meet its lignite-related bailout commitments, intended to break PPC’s dominance in the sector.

The new sale effort could head in one of two directions. The initial tender, whose package includes units at PPC’s Megalopoli and Meliti power stations, could be given an extension with improved terms for potential buyers, such as a 50 percent staff reduction at the units up for sale, as well as more favorable lignite supply terms for the Meliti unit, in the country’s north, from the nearby Ahlada mine. Investors had tabled both these demands in the lead-up to the first sale effort.

A second scenario that could emerge would entail relaunching the sale with new terms and open doors for new participants. PPC appears to favor this option believing a greater number of contenders will increase the likelihood of better offers and a successful sale.