DEPA intensifies debt hunt in preparation of split, privatization

Gas utility DEPA is intensifying its collection drive for unpaid receivables in an effort to improve its standing ahead of an upcoming corporate split into two companies representing infrastructure and trade and the sale of a majority stake in the latter.

Debtors on the radar of what is seen as a challenging mission include industrial consumers ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals) and EBZ (Hellenic Sugar Industry), as well as the OSY public transport operator, behind on its DEPA payments for the company’s fleet of LNG-fueled buses.

The main focus of DEPA’s collection effort is on large-scale consumers but smaller debtors will not be spared.

EBZ is believed to owe DEPA approximately 14 million euros, up from roughly ten million euros late in 2015. Despite the rise, DEPA has continued its gas supply to the sugar producer following demands for additional guarantees. EBZ, whose total debt figure exceeds 230 million euros, is up for sale but investor interest is subdued.

The OSY bus company, now under the control of Greece’s new super privatization fund, owed 24.4 million euros to DEPA at the end of 2017 but this figure is believed to have since fallen into single-digit territory.

ELFE remains a major problem for DEPA. The fertilizer and chemicals producer’s debt to the gas utility has risen to over 125 million euros. DEPA has taken legal action against ELFE on a number of fronts, including a recent demand entailing a detailed listing of all company assets.