ELPE bids by end of November, public offering presumed

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, appears headed towards setting a late-November date for binding bids by prospective buyers in the ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) sale offering a 50.1 percent stake.

The privatization fund, keen to push ahead the ELPE sale process, which has lost some pace, is acting on the presumption that the winning bidder of PPC’s 50.1 percent will need to follow up with a public offering to the remainder of the company’s shareholders.

If so, either Glencore or Vitol – the sale’s two contenders – will need to buy, at the same price, shares offered by other company shareholders, meaning the buyer could end up with as much as a 70 percent stake of ELPE. Greek and foreign institutional investors, as well as small-scale shareholders, hold a 19 percent stake of ELPE.

The local Capital Market Commission has yet to deliver a decision on whether a public offering procedure will be needed.

Commenting yesterday on the need for swifter progress in the sale’s overall proceedings, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis stated the ELPE sale’s bidding procedure would be completed by the festive season.

At this stage, a proposal entailing a legislative revision by the finance ministry that would exempt ELPE from public offering procedures does not appear to have gained any ground.

At the current rate, given the Capital Market Commission’s delays, the sale is not expected to be completed before the summer or autumn of 2019.