DEPA privatization draft bill set for parliament on February 28

The energy ministry has been given a February 28 date for its submission to parliament of a draft bill designed to split the gas utility DEPA into two entities, DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, ahead of its privatization. This parliamentary move comes with slight delay as it was initially expected in December.

Investors will be offered a majority stake (50% plus one share) in DEPA Trade, while, at a latter date, a 14 percent stake of DEPA Infrastructure will also be placed for sale.

Having reserved an end-of-Febuary date for its DEPA draft bill, the energy ministry expects its ratification within the first five days of March. If so, the government will have fulfilled yet another bailout requirement ahead of an imminent Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers, scheduled for March 11.

The tender offering a majority stake in DEPA Trade should be launched within a month’s time of the bill’s ratification, according to the TAIPED privatization fund’s annual development plan. Given this schedule, the sale’s official announcement can be expected in early April.

One of the annual development plan’s next steps concerning the DEPA privatization entails ensuring veto rights for the Greek State, through its role in DEPA Trade, if extraordinary situations require intervention or any DEPA supply agreements – reached prior to the sale –  for gas quantities concerning PCIs be placed in any doubt. DEPA Trade’s portfolio will include the utility’s international gas supply agreements.