Copelouzos group emerges as latest DEPA Trade candidate

The Copelouzos group has stepped forward to made clear its interest in a 51 percent stake of DEPA Trade, gas utility DEPA’s forthcoming subsidiary to be offered as part of a bailout-required privatization along with a minority stake in DEPA Infrastructure, the DEPA sale’s other subsidiary in the making.

The Copelouzos group is the latest major player to have emerged as a prospective buyer of DEPA Trade. Mytilineos and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), holding a 35 percent stake in DEPA, have both already declared they will bid for DEPA Trade.

Mytilineos and ELPE expressed their interest in DEPA Trade immediately following the recent unveiling of the DEPA privatization model. More interested investors are expected to emerge, including Motor Oil Hellas (MOH).

Just recently, Motor Oil Hellas made known an intention to enter the retail natural gas market through the fuel station network controlled by its subsidiary Coral.

Motor Oil Hellas has lodged an appeal to the competition committee against a local takeover agreement between DEPA and Shell, selling its 49 percent stake in their EPA Attiki natural gas supply joint venture, covering the wider Athens area, to DEPA. The gas utility already holds a 51 percent share of this joint venture and, as a result, will fully control own EPA Attiki.

DEPA already holds the biggest gas supply contracts in the country’s wholesale market and a complete takeover of EPA Attiki would offer the gas utility an unfair advantage over competitors, Motor Oil Hellas argues.

Without a doubt, the prospective field of DEPA Trade bidders sees major potential in the country’s natural gas market. The gas utility’s vast experience, existing client base and major wholesale gas agreements are all seen as big positives generating interest for DEPA Trade. Control of EPA Attiki, a key retail market player, promised by a 51 percent stake in DEPA Trade, is another prospect exciting investors.