A total of 18 prospective bidders have taken part in a market test staged by Goldman Sachs for power utility PPC’s forthcoming sale of a 49 percent stake in subsidiary firm DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator.
The list, forwarded by Goldman Sachs to PPC, includes investors already familiar to the Greek market such as US firm Blackrock, specializing in transportation and energy infrastructure long-term investments; prominent infrastructure funds; as well as many European operators.
France’s Engie and Italy’s Enel, both often linked with the DEDDIE/HEDNO sale, were not among the 18 market test participants, sources informed.
Interestingly, no previous market test staged to gauge interest in the prospective sale of any Greek State asset has generated such a strong turnout.
Authorities behind DEDDIE/HEDNO’s partial privatization hope this more than promising response for the market test will result in intense bidding competition and a higher sale price.
A clear picture on the number and identity of the sale’s participants will become apparent on January 29, the deadline for the procedure’s first round official expressions of interest.
Officials have attributed the strong market test interest to five key factors: the operator’s new regulatory framework; an elevated WACC level of 6.7 percent for 2021 to 2024, well over levels of between 2.5 and 3 percent offered by other European operators; strong confidence in the governance of the country, pivotal for long-term investments; good timing, as, at present, no other network operator in Europe is up for sale; and a massive accumulation of global capital currently available for investment as a result of numerous lockdowns imposed in many parts of the world since March.
The Greek government will aim to complete DEDDIE/HEDNO’s partial privatization in the first half of 2021.