ELPE sale expectations, risks high as deadline day nears

A succession of record-breaking financial results at ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) over the past few years has boosted the company’s expectations of an elevated sale price in a privatization offering a 50.1 percent stake.

Even so, whether the sale’s two bidding teams both end up submitting binding bids on Wednesday, the deadline day, remains a 50-50 situation, officials have noted, pointing out tough sale-term negotiations that have taken place between the sellers – the Greek State, offering 20 percent of its 35.48 percent share, and the Latsis group’s Paneuropean Oil, selling 30.1 percent of its 45.47 percent share – and the possible buyers.

The privatization’s two early qualifiers, Glencore and Vitol, have pressed hard for sale-term improvements. These demands then increased with the emergence of US firm Carlyle and Algeria’s Sonatrach as respective partners of the initial candidates.

Despite the privatization’s plan for the sale of a 50.1 percent majority, the Greek State has insisted on maintaining veto rights for crucial decisions of national significance.

TAIPED, the state privatization fund, was forced to delay the binding-bids deadline and most recently rescheduled the date for April 3 from March 29.

ELPE’s EBITDA figure averaged 763 million euros between 2015 and 2018, more than double the 350 million-euro average achieved between 2011 and 2014.