Belgian media highlights European interest in DESFA stake

Belgian media has highlighted the interest of European energy firms in acquiring a 17 percent of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, which would reduce the equity share to be bought by Azeri company Socar to 49 percent.

Belgian company Fluxys is one of the European companies believed to be interested in acquiring the 17 percent share in DESFA expected to be surrendered by Socar, which had originally agreed, two years ago, to purchase a 66 percent equity share before the European Commission intervened, presumably over EU energy security and competition concerns.

Two Italian firms, Snam and Infrastrutture Transporto Gas, Spain’s Enagas – which holds a 16 percent stake in the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) consortium – Dutch company Gasunie, and Romania’s Transga were also named as being interested in a 17 percent stake of DESFA, Belgian media reports.

Belgian national investment fund SFPI (Societe Federale de Participations et d’Investissement), which holds a 2.1 percent stake in Fluxys, may take part in the deal with an amount of roughly 30 million euros, which would provide the fund with a DESFA equity share of nearly 5 percent in the overall 17 percent acquisition.

Fluxys’s role in DESFA would be restricted to industrial and managerial cooperation with the Greek gas grid operator, Belgian media reported.

The reports also noted that Fluxys’s participation in DESFA makes perfect sense as the Belgian company holds a 19 percent share in the TAP consortium developing the gas pipeline planned to run through Greece for supply of mainly Azeri natural gas to European markets.