DESFA offers still not opened as officials process documents

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, is expected to have gained a clear picture within the next few days on the level of completeness of offers submitted last Friday by two consortiums to a tender offering a 66 percent stake of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator.

Certain market officials believe that the privatization fund will open files containing the price levels of offers submitted this Friday, but pundits have informed energypress that this prospect is unlikely as authorities must first ensure that all other details, including required certification, are complete.

If additional documents are demanded from either of the two bidding teams, then the offers will not be opened any sooner than the end of next week.

Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagás Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys formed a consortium to submit a joint bid. Another Spanish entry, Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa Asset Investments) joined forces with Romania’s Transgaz and the EBRD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, for the other offer.

Both teams are seen as formidable participants determined to prevail in the DESFA tender, which has generated hopes among local authorities of strong offers.

Government officials believe a 400 million-euro offer made by Azerbaijan’s Socar, the winning bidder of a previous and unfinished tender that also offered 66 percent of DESFA, could be surpassed. In the lead-up to this latest sale effort, government sources have declared that not a single cent below 400 million euros will be accepted.

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), offering its 35 percent stake as part of the 66 percent total, has echoed these thoughts, noting that company shareholders will decide on whether to sell or not based on the price level offered.