The field of contenders believed to be examining a majority stake (50% plus one share) of DEPA Trade to soon be offered through a tender include Promitheas (Copelouzos, Gazprom), Motor Oil, Mytilineos and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), which revealed an interest in the natural gas market last week, while presenting group results.
The main power utility PPC another firm that has indicated it intends to enter the gas market to offset anticipated losses in the electricity market is another possibility. However, PPC’s financial standing and ability to access capital markets could prove to be an obstacle.
Promitheas has shown particular interest in DEPA’s international agreements, Motor Oil is looking closely at EPA Attiki, the gas utility DEPA’s supply firm covering the wider Athens area, while Mytilineos appears to be focused on the utility’s international trade and gas supply activity.
An energy ministry draft bill splitting DEPA into two new corporate entities, DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, ahead of the utility’s bailout-required privatization was ratified in Greek parliament late last week.
The tender offering a majority stake in DEPA Trade is expected to be launched in about one month. The privatization fund will not wait for the procedures concerning DEPA’s split to be completed before launching the DEPA Trade tender. Investors will be offered a minority stake in DEPA Infrastructure at a latter date.