ELPE sale deadline headed for early-March extension

The state privatization fund TAIPED appears likely to reset the binding bids deadline of a sale offering a 50.1 percent stake in ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) for a date within the first week of March, more than one month beyond the current January 31 date, reliable sources have informed.

The need for additional time is being attributed to the recent entry into the sale of two new candidates, American firm Carlyle and Algeria’s Sonatrach. They have established respective partnerships with the procedure’s two existing candidates, Glencore and Vitol, and will need time to appraise ELPE before shaping bids with their partners.

TAIPED has yet to officially endorse the new bidding pairs but is expected to offer its approval very soon, possibly within the current week.

The ELPE sale procedure has needed to overcome various obstacles along the way. Late last year, Greece’s Capital Market Commission ruled that the preferred investor to emerge from the sale will not need to make a public offering to other company shareholders, ending an ambiguity that caused delays.