EIB officials to visit Athens to discuss PPC finance concerns

European Investment Bank (EIB) officials have planned a two-day visit to Athens, beginning tomorrow, to focus on debt concerns surrounding the main power utility PPC.

Meetings with PPC officials as well as the country’s main banks, the utility’s main creditors, are scheduled to take place during the visit.

PPC’s solvency and looming loan refinancing needs are expected to be a top priority for the EIB officials on this visit.

The EIB and Greek banks are keeping a close watch on PPC-related developments. The Greek power utility’s credit rating downgrade made by Standard and Poor’s at the beginning of this year and maintained in a recently updated report has raised the concerns of creditors.

PPC’s high debt level and difficulties faced as a result of its deteriorated cash flow, revised regulatory framework and Greek bailout terms, requiring the utility’s retail electricity market share contraction and sale of production units, are troubling both the corporation and its creditors.

The split and sale of power grid operator IPTO, a PPC subsidiary, which owns a considerable amount of fixed assets on which mortgages have been subscribed, will also be discussed by the visiting EIB officials and Greek banks.

The latest Standard and Poor’s report noted that: in 2017, PPC requires 300 million euros for loan repayments, primarily in the fourth quarter; in 2018, PPC  loans worth 400 million euros, whose refinancing will be limited to 40 million euros, are set to mature; and, in 2019, PPC will need to refinance loans worth 2 billion euros, of which 1.2 billion euros concerns a bond held by the main Greek banks and 500 million euros concerns a second bond maturing in May of 2019.