Crucial talks in Brussels for PPC lignite unit sale package

A four-member team of highly ranked Greek energy ministry officials is scheduled to be in Brussels tomorrow and Thursday for a crucial second round of negotiations with European Commission Directorate-General for Competition authorities on technical issues concerning the main power utility PPC’s bailout required sale package of lignite units.

The sale agreement is expected to be completed by the end of November or early December, as was pointed out by energy minister Giorgos Stathakis last week, before a market test is held to measure the level of investor interest.

Details of the PPC sale are expected to take shape during the negotiations in Brussels over the next couple of days. The establishment of an agreement concerning the sale of a PPC sale package representing 40 percent of the utility’s lignite capacity has been included as a prior action for the conclusion of the bailout’s third review.

The Greek delegation – to be comprised of the energy ministry’s secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos, Mihalis Nikolakakis, director of energy minister Giorgos Stathakis’s office, legal consultant Vaia Karathodorou, and ministry adviser K. Stratis – had traveled to Brussels for a first round of technical talks with the DG Comp in September, just days ahead of the arrival in Athens of the lender representatives for bailout agreement review talks.

The two sides have essentially already agreed on the inclusion, to the PPC lignite units sale list, of Meliti; a construction permit for Meliti II; Megalopoli III and IV; as well as the lignite mines at Vevi, Ahlada and, possibly, Klidi. Details concerning the futures of personnel employed at these units and the split process of the units from the utility still need to be worked out.

Details also need to be finalized on the acceptance by the DG Comp of a Greek proposal enabling PPC to keep operating its ageing Amynteo and Kardia units. According to the plan, both units will be upgraded in collaboration with a private-sector investor.

It is still unclear whether the inclusion of Amynteo into the portfolio of units to be kept by PPC will influence the sale package representing 40 percent of PPC’s lignite capacity.