DEPA Commercial sale on hold over crisis, ELFE case concerns

The government appears likely to defer the final binding-bids stage in the 100 percent privatization of gas company DEPA Commercial, fearing negative impact as a result of the energy crisis, and also taking into account an unresolved legal dispute between the gas company and fertilizer industry ELFE.

The government wants, for the time being, to keep control of DEPA Commercial as part of its defense effort against the energy crisis’ price surge.

Three weeks earlier, the finance and energy ministers announced that state-controlled DEPA Commercial would absorb 15 percent of natural gas price increases as part of the government’s effort to soften the effect of the energy crisis on consumers.

The gas company’s unsettled legal dispute with ELFE, the fertilizer industry, is the other major factor behind the government’s hesitation to press ahead with the final stage of DEPA Commercial’s privatization.

The government will not move on to the final stage of the DEPA Commercial privatization until the gas company’s dispute with ELFE is over, sources informed.

ELFE is seeking compensation from DEPA, contending the gas company overpriced gas supply between 2010 and 2015, while DEPA has filed a case seeking overdue amounts from the fertilizer producer, based in Kavala, northern Greece.