DESFA deadline 8 days away, bidders troubled by 3 issues

The two bidding teams still in the running for a 66 percent stake of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, want three isssues to be resolved ahead of a February 16 tender deadline for binding offers. These concerns have been relayed to TAIPED, the state privatization fund.

The participants are demanding a formula correlating investment performance with risk factors.

The investors also want DEFSA’s ten-year plan to be endorsed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. Its endorsement has been delayed as a result of applications submitted to RAE by Windows International, controlled by Russian entrepreneur Leonid Lebedev, for a gas distribution license covering three regions in northern Greece, as well as construction of a natural gas pipeline from outer Thessaloniki to Fyrom (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

DESFA has also included an equivalent pipeline project in its ten-year plan. The Russian firm has informed RAE that its pipeline project application, submitted last March, meets all legal criteria, adding that a MoU has been signed with the Fyrom government.

The prospective bidders would also like greater leniency on a restriction limiting their right to resell any fraction of the 66 percent stake to be acquired in DESFA. According to sources, TAIPED has set a restriction that does not permit DESFA ownership changes for a 24-month period following the signing of the sale agreement. This term has been set with the intention of attracting long-term investors.