Binding bids deadline for IPTO sale just two days away

The part-privatization plan for IPTO, the power grid operator, reaches a crucial stage this Wednesday when a deadline for binding bids by prospective investors expires, one year after the government persuaded the country’s lenders to accept a revised sale plan for the operator.

Failure of the latest IPTO plan – entailing the sale of 24 percent to a strategic investor, followed by 25 percent through the bourse and transfer of 51 percent from parent company PPC, the main power utility, to the Greek State – will prompt a full sale of the operator.

PPC officials expect all three first-round participants, Italy’s Terna, China’s State Grid International Development, and France’s RTE, to submit binding bids for a 24 percent share of IPTO this Wednesday.

Terna and China’s State Grid International Development, both of which had expressed interest in the previous version of the IPTO sale, offering 66 percent, appear to be the favorites at this late stage.

Last week, Terna, it was reported, held talks with funds without reaching any final agreements.

China’s State Grid International Development, which possesses enormous capital amounts, does not need a partner to come up with a competitive offer. Many pundits have already tipped the Chinese firm as the favorite as a result of its financial strength.

However, last week’s contact between France’s RTE and Hydro-Quebec, a Montreal-based global powerhouse, indicates that China’s State Grid International Development will have a strong opponent to outdo should RTE and Hydro-Quebec join forces and make a bid.

Such an outcome, which could spark a bidding war, would benefit PPC.